“…[T]he dreaded Mexican economic migrant that is now the sock puppet for everything wrong with a topheavy and too expensive federalism in fact is the archetype of the American immigrant story. It is this union of opposites — if it could ever happen — a political union of “illegals” and the Tea Party that would break the mold and usher in an new American renewal of entrepreneurial individual freedom. That would mark the rebirth of the American dream of progress that has been long sidetracked by childish safety and security demands that are at bottom profoundly pessimistic….”
[Dr Tamm-Clattuc is an analytical psychologist who worked for many years in Zurich and is now retired in her childhood home country of western Wisconsin — BW]
by Wayness Tamm-Clattuc
A comment was posted recently about the Koran-burning proposal in Florida, in Bodwyn Wook:
“Some people just don’t see the consequences of an action.”
That is the great problem of the neurotic, trying to find the courage to live the open-ended life. The neurotic wants an absolute guarantee ahead of time. The neurotic is obsessed by the future (which is to say, by death). “Knowing the outcomes” in fact is a highly valued sufi idea, and it is presented as a hallmark of their idea of a certain gain in maturity. And yet there are no guarantees in this life even in the case of either the most defiant or most ethical personality. It is because there cannot be. The random tide of outer events have it in their power to elicit the most startling responses from our very own insides! Also, they can and usually do, in history, sweep at times through whole populations and bring out all that is consensus omnium ordinarily repressed.
And yet the ruling archetype of our culture may be said to be the fantasy and all the images we hold of Progress. Progress (as an allegory) may be said to have emerged as our collective western response to all of the untidy randomness of existence. Progress as a cultural myth ultimately vanquishes death. (I am writing in a kind of grammatical eternal present at this point.) The repression not of sex, as James Hillman writes, but of death in fact is the huge shadow of progress. So the neurotic’s is also the collective allegory of our cultural myth and struggle. Soaked as we are in the frank atmosphere of grubby discount sex, that allegorization of Progress may be why our politics are so much the domain of people who can’t do anything else except to be megaphone personalities for the kinds of thwarted feeling that always well up, from “below”. So, the political personality must promise in effect to deliver Eternity — at least to a few, the chosen few and, at last, the very few. Disguising from the electorate how many will locked out of the Last Bunker is the hidden political task of all parties. The political personality therefore is that of the gifted neurotic.
For good or ill.
Hitler was certainly a sort of conduit or channel for all of the most wicked conceit and violence concealed behind the supremely cultured German mask or persona of late modern European confidence. During the imperial struggle for India and Africa of course all of the midget personalities of three generations before could ship out to the Indian and Kenyan civil services, for example. Ultimately this safety valve failed — Germany notably did not have extensive colonies to exploit in this way as a kind of social dump — and we had the Great World War (in two parts), of 1914-45. Paradoxically it was driven by the scientific optimism of symphonic music, eugenics and the gas chamber. Now an American Right that is a very different Right than the European of eighty years ago nonetheless faces the same danger. It is that of being abducted by the shadow, all the prancing about illegal immigrants, gay marriage and so on. Behind it again is to be perceived the dim glow of the reaching for a kind of political or indeed constitutional hygiene. What may be the saving factor now, though, is that the population have so differentiated that there is no one personality on hand who can charismatically seduce everyone back together in a new outburst of national feeling. And yet, reader beware, the very depth of division between all of the American “publics” is generating an enormous counterposition in the back of the collective mind, and this above all is the longing for a great saving feeling of unity.
What seems to be called for in short is a great big obliterating gush of the sheerest emotion, I mean. (You can tell here, I think, that I find this sort of thing sticky and disgusting!)
This is because the eidolen or image of optimism and hope is no longer held at all by the Left. Not even as a contested property is Progress a key holding today of the Democratic party. Progress simply is now no longer felt by the popular mass to be particularly a “liberal” enterprise. This has been noted in Bodwyn Wook before, and it is true: therapy in no meaningful sense has ever succeeded in establishing its public alchemical value as a mode of personally responsible social transformation. The Left rather is now the scolding parent figure that must be overthrown. For the Left do indeed seem to regard everyone who is not a professional (or, as Emmett said, “…at least a Sales Associate!”) to be some sort of “client”. Thus the public is nothing but so many cases to be supervised, their smoking and diets and energy- and sex-consumption to be professionally rationed, regulated. All of this is for their own good of course, and so there is no room in any of it in the last analysis for any human individual creativity whatsoever.
For example, let us stipulate that global warming is a theory that is unreservedly true; and that man as a species, a part of nature, is part of the cause:
In none of this is there the remotest sense of any creative human response possible apart from the straightline extrapolation of already established collective methods. That is to say, we are told we simply need more “governance” when the psychological fact is that there is a demand in any emergency that is real for an actual new answer. As shown in our culture-hero myths, the means of the survival of life in fact will be found in new realms outside of the official setup, whatever that may be. This global warming crisis, too, is an affair finally of gifted individuals. It is creative personalities transformed by love who, in turn, change their world in any case. Arguably, none of these have ever manifested primarily in the political world as such, and when the vision has become political as it did so early in Islam, the inheritance has twisted into an endless conflict between fools. (These lesser forms of Love, like marriage, all require the retinues of unloved and the banned, excluded or at least excoriated; and, even christianity has never fully succeeded in raising Agape to a hell-defeating redemption of everyone. Islam interestingly comes closest of the monotheisms, in saying that god might well out of his own compassion bring in everyone; this is a far cry from the obvious mental split or szygzy in the attitude of the would-be koran burning pastor in Florida.)
The American Left must for good and all recognize that the American tea partiers of today, men and women of a uniquely American Right, hope to make over the opposition party in their own image and they are animated more than by any other single feeling of value by deep feelings of offended optimism.
Needless to say it is positively a duty of the Democratic party to question the motives of the Tea Party. For whether they will succeed of course probably depends in secret on the financial will of the great fiscal entities. Whether the Tea Party can otherwise succeed without washing its money and laundering its supporters in the sewer of scapegoating and shadowy corporate financial corruption remains to be seen. In just the same way the Democratic party has long been sunk in the established establishment corruptions of subsidy professionalism. And so this is a question for both parties of the hidden neurosis of fear concealed inside all our images of progress, left and right. (The great financial entities as collective entities also are possessed in the same way.) However, the dreaded Mexican economic migrant that is now the sock puppet for everything wrong with a topheavy and too expensive federalism in fact is the archetype of the American immigrant story. It is this union of opposites — if it could ever happen — a political union of “illegals” and the Tea Party that would break the mold and usher in an new American renewal of entrepreneurial individual freedom. That would mark the rebirth of the American dream of progress that has been long sidetracked by childish safety and security demands that are at bottom profoundly pessimistic. It is for good ill or good up to the moral quality of whomever are to be the emerging candidates, especially for the Presidency.
The American problem — it is the heart of the matter for both major parties, too, though they still ignore it — is to find the living courage as a meld of many sorts of personal courages, in order to be able to go on at all as a united land and people in an open-ended world.
The American solution, if it is real, will also see the end of these exhausted politics
[all rights revert to holders
[17 September 2010]