Saturday, July 23, 2016


The flying fox of Australia. Trump isn’t the only scary thing in the world. Photo: Kristy Louise


taking a shower once —
April, I just turned seventeen —
I saw the cleaning woman
on the sill of a corridor window, 
staring at me,
a wet rag in her hand.

I thought she’d turn away, but she
stared as I stood in thin breath of steam,
the hand-held shower riding
my skin in translucent rivulets. 
Only when I stared back
and slowly covered my breasts,
she clambered down from the sill.

I thought she’d never been young —
wheezing along the stony sheen
of the waxed corridors —
sad and sweaty, married
to a drunk who beat her;
she came bruised sometimes,
eye swollen shut with a fist.

She washed the floors and windows
at the Nencki Institute;
part-time cleaned apartments for the scientists.
But dishes weren’t safe
“in her delicate little hands,”
my father would joke now and then;
one time she even broke a spoon.
What went through her when she saw
a young girl’s April body —

Far away, in a corridor in my mind,
I am still standing naked
before the cleaning woman,
her bruised, bloated bulk;
clutching the rag, her swollen hand
raw and red —

When you say you love me,
you have to include her.

~ Oriana © 2016


~ “In the early 1940s, no less an authoritative figure than Allen Dulles, America’s chief wartime intelligence operative in Switzerland, recruited the famed psychoanalyst Carl Jung as “Agent 488.” Dulles, who a decade later became the first civilian director of the Central Intelligence Agency and was one of the architects of twentieth-century American hegemony, wanted Jung’s insights on the psyche of Adolf Hitler and the top Nazi cadre, as well as the German public that was believed to have been somehow mesmerized. According to biographers, Dulles passed Jung’s reports on to other top-level military commanders, including Dwight Eisenhower. “Nobody will probably ever know how much Prof. Jung contributed to the Allied cause during the war,” Dulles later wrote.

Indeed, we don’t know how Jung’s reports were interpreted and employed by the top American brass. We do, however, know how Jung explained Hitler’s catastrophic rise to power. For answers, Jung summoned another powerful figure from Norse mythology—not the complex and transmogrifying Loki, but the thundering patriarch-in-the-sky, Odin. (Think Zeus, or not-quite-retired-yet Anthony Hopkins with a bushy white beard and bulky golden armor.)

In a 1936 essay titled “Wotan”—another rendering of Odin—Jung described the Nazi leader as a manifestation of that “ancient god of storm and frenzy,” having awakened “like an extinct volcano, to new activity, in a civilized country that had long been supposed to have outgrown the Middle Ages.”

Although Jung definitely had an occult-oriented woo-woo side, he made clear in the essay that he did not believe Hitler was the literal incarnation of an immortal entity from the realm of Asgard. Rather, he wrote, the gods of yore were “personifications of psychic forces” articulated in the language of myth. To sneer at the utility of such allegory is about as insightful as pointing out that J. Robert Oppenheimer did not, in fact, transform into Krishna, destroyer of worlds, at the atomic bomb tests in New Mexico in 1945.

“We are always convinced that the modern world is a reasonable world,” Jung wrote. “But if we may forget for a moment that we are living in the year of Our Lord 1936, and, laying aside our well-meaning, all-too-human reasonableness, may burden God or the gods with the responsibility for contemporary events instead of man, we would find . . . the unfathomable depths of Wotan’s character explain more of National Socialism than all [proposed] reasonable factors put together.

Crucially, Jung argued that modern people could not accept the reality of any manifestation of the unconscious; and that is what caused all sorts of problems. This is as true today as it was eighty years ago—perhaps more so, in this tech-obsessed time of data journalism, STEM supremacy, and quantitative hegemony. The more adamantly people deny the influence of unseen forces—that is to say, unconscious impulses—over their own behavior, the more power those forces exhibit.

Wotan represented “an irrational psychic factor which acts on the high pressure of civilization like a cyclone and blows it away,” according to Jung. This suggests Wotan did not awaken at random but was summoned by circumstance.

To truly understand why people do what they do requires a spelunking trip into a dark realm where the virtue of reason and the clear ties between cause and effect do not apply. In this age of quantitative supremacy, when figurative language has been sacrificed at the altar of Freakonomics, the notion of a monster rising from the collective Id is unfathomable, which is not to say impossible. Indeed, the resolutely subjective and unabashedly speculative approach represented by Jung’s analysis of Hitler is essential to understanding today’s spooky and, yes, dangerous, American political scene.

Toward the end of his essay on Hitler, Jung speculated that, if Wotan has awoken, then “other veiled gods may be sleeping elsewhere.” Which brings us to Donald Trump.

Trump may be racist and fascist but that doesn’t make him Hitler. Fascism was and is a veritable rainbow coalition of hatred. Some favor jackboots, others loafers.

Just as Hitler was not known to crack wise from the podium, Trump’s stump speeches do not call to mind “storm and frenzy.” Trump is no Wotan, no berserker—he is a wisecracker, adept in the cool medium of television. He represents an entirely different Jungian archetype—namely, the pan-cultural mythological figure of “the trickster,” who arrives at moments of uncertainty to bring change, often of the bad kind. In the Norse pantheon, the shape-shifting trickster character is Odin’s blood brother, Loki, god of mischief and lies.

If further proof is required that Trump the Insult Comic Candidate is a manifestation of the Norse trickster deity, it must be noted that Loki is a master maligner who, in one epic roast, delivered cutting put-downs to the other major lords of Asgard in a sort of Viking version of the 2016 presidential debates.

To complete this reprisal of Jung’s analysis, we must revisit the fraught matter of national character. I submit that if Wotan summed up the Furor Teutonicus, then the quintessentially American deity must be Loki.

Loki on the Snaptun Stone

The trickster god has visited this young nation before, in the person of P.T. Barnum and in the character of Tom Sawyer. Even the foundational myth of George Washington and the cherry tree bears Loki’s mark. Little George did a bad thing, but his candid admission earned forgiveness from the father figure. Now, highfalutin’ historians might tell you that the cherry tree story is a fabrication and that Washington did tell lies, but the power of the myth stands, impervious to those facts. Similarly, journalists may lose their breath trying to keep up with Trump’s constant fictions, but his supporters don’t seem to care about something so trifling as veracity. Like Little George, they forgive him because he at least gives the impression of honesty and doesn’t hold back.

Moreover, what sort of god asks his subjects for forgiveness? Not Loki, that’s for sure.

When considered in the context of the dark psychic currents of the national experience, Trump’s appeal becomes self-evident. Is it really so shocking that a racist, misogynist, mafia-connected, serially fraudulent boor could find a successful place in American life—especially in this age of misinformation and artifice? Loki has awoken. He walks among us, gaining strength, and he doesn’t need your stupid vote, loser.” ~

Loki with a fishing net; 18th century Icelandic manuscript


~ “The United States has two root ideologies: one of them being the Puritanism of the 17th century, and the other being the Enlightenment of the 18th century. Trump is more of an Enlightenment figure, but, in relation to women . . . he certainly feels that a girl’s place is to look nice and stand behind, beaming adoringly. Which is sort of old-style, 1950s-beauty-contest stuff, rather than religious-right-fundamentalist-puritan stuff.

He’s all for a certain kind of women, but not women in general, I would say. But no, he’s not much of a puritan. Whereas Cruz certainly is. And Rubio is similar. The Tea Party is of that root from American society, which never really went away. It might have looked in the 17th century as if we were having a bad experience with Salem witches, and were quite embarrassed about it afterwards, but it’s never really left.


Yes, given the puritanism of the Religious Right, Trump certainly seems closer to the Enlightenment. He's relatively secular -- for instance, his acceptance speech didn't discuss how he's "faith-based." And he's not conservative about women in the crazy religious fundamentalist way -- his daughter helped modernize his thinking on strong women (though there's still a long way to go).  
Trump as an Enlightenment figure! When compared with the likes of Ted Cruz, yes. This is a marvelous observation.

Of course Trump’s anti-intellectualism and reliance on an emotional appeal hardly make him stand for the Enlightenment in the full sense of the word. But Atwood is onto something important in the context of the two main currents in the American culture. 


In the strict father family, father knows best. He knows right from wrong and has the ultimate authority to make sure his children and his spouse do what he says, which is taken to be what is right. Many conservative spouses accept this worldview, uphold the father’s authority, and are strict in those realms of family life that they are in charge of. When his children disobey, it is his moral duty to punish them painfully enough so that, to avoid punishment, they will obey him (do what is right). Through physical discipline they are supposed to become disciplined, internally strong and able to prosper in the external world.

What if they don’t prosper? That means they are not disciplined, and therefore cannot be moral, and so deserve their poverty. This reasoning shows up in conservative politics in which the poor are seen as lazy and undeserving, and the rich as deserving their wealth. Responsibility is thus taken to be personal responsibility, not social responsibility. What you become is up to you; society has nothing to do with it. You are responsible for yourself, not for others — who are responsible for themselves.

Winning and Insulting
In a world governed by personal [not social] responsibility and discipline, those who win deserve to win. Why does Donald Trump publicly insult other candidates and political leaders mercilessly? Quite simply, because he knows he can win an onstage TV insult game. In strict conservative eyes, that makes him a formidable winning candidate who deserves to be a winning candidate. Electoral competition is seen as a battle. Insults that stick are seen as victories — deserved victories.

Consider Trump’s statement that John McCain is not a war hero. The reasoning: McCain got shot down. Heroes are winners. They defeat big bad guys. They don't get shot down. People who get shot down, beaten up and stuck in a cage are losers, not winners.

The Moral Hierarchy

The strict father logic extends further. The basic idea is that authority is justified by morality (the strict father version), and that, in a well-ordered world, there should be (and traditionally has been) a moral hierarchy in which those who have traditionally dominated should dominate. The hierarchy is: God above man, man above nature, the disciplined (strong) above the undisciplined (weak), the rich above the poor, employers above employees, adults above children, Western culture above other cultures, America above other countries. The hierarchy extends to: Men above women, whites above nonwhites, Christians above non-Christians, straights above gays.

We see these tendencies in most of the Republican presidential candidates, as well as in Trump, and on the whole, conservative policies flow from the strict father worldview and this hierarchy.


Those whites who have a strict father personal worldview and who are religious tend toward evangelical Christianity, since God, in evangelical Christianity, is the ultimate strict father: You follow his commandments and you go to heaven; you defy his commandments and you burn in hell for all eternity. If you are a sinner and want to go to heaven, you can be "born again" by declaring your fealty by choosing his son, Jesus Christ, as your personal savior.

Such a version of religion is natural for those with strict father morality. Evangelical Christians join the church because they are conservative; they are not conservative because they happen to be in an evangelical church, though they may grow up with both together.

Evangelical Christianity is centered around family life. Hence, there are organizations like Focus on the Family and constant reference to “family values,” which are to take to be evangelical strict father values. In strict father morality, it is the father who controls sexuality and reproduction. Where the church has political control, there are laws that require parental and spousal notification in the case of proposed abortions.

Evangelicals are highly organized politically and exert control over a great many local political races. Thus Republican candidates mostly have to go along with the evangelicals if they want to be nominated and win local elections.

Pragmatic Conservatives

Pragmatic conservatives, on the other hand, may not have a religious orientation at all. Instead, they may care primarily about their own personal authority, not the authority of the church or Christ, or God. They want to be strict fathers in their own domains, with authority primarily over their own lives. Thus, a young, unmarried conservative — male or female —may want to have sex without worrying about marriage. They may need access to contraception, advice about sexually transmitted diseases, information about cervical cancer, and so on. And if a girl or woman becomes pregnant and there is no possibility or desire for marriage, abortion may be necessary.

Trump is a pragmatic conservative, par excellence. And he knows that there are a lot of Republican voters who are like him in their pragmatism. There is a reason he likes Planned Parenthood. There are plenty of young, unmarried (or even married) pragmatic conservatives, who may need what Planned Parenthood has to offer, cheaply and confidentially by way of contraception, cervical cancer prevention, and sex ed.

Similarly, young or middle-aged pragmatic conservatives want to maximize their own wealth. They don’t want to be saddled with the financial burden of caring for their parents. Social Security and Medicare relieve them of most of those responsibilities. That is why Trump wants to keep Social Security and Medicare.

Laissez-faire Free Marketeers

Establishment conservative policies have not only been shaped by the political power of white evangelical churches, but by the political power of those who seek maximally laissez-faire free markets, where wealthy people and corporations set market rules in their favor with minimal government regulation and enforcement. They see taxation not as investment in publicly provided resources for all citizens, but as government taking their earnings (their private property) and giving the money through government programs to those who don't deserve it. This is the source of establishment Republicans’ anti-tax and shrinking government views. This version of conservatism is quite happy with outsourcing to increase profits by sending manufacturing and many services abroad where labor is cheap, with the consequence that well-paying jobs leave America and wages are driven down here. Since they depend on cheap imports, they would not be in favor of imposing high tariffs.

Many business people are pragmatic conservatives. They like government power when it works for them. Take eminent domain. Establishment Republicans see it as an abuse by government — government taking of private property. But conservative real estate developers like Trump depend on eminent domain so that homes and small businesses in areas they want to develop can be taken by eminent domain for the sake of their development plans. All they have to do is get local government officials to go along, with campaign contributions and the promise of an increase in local tax dollars helping to acquire eminent domain rights. Trump points to Atlantic City, where he build his casino using eminent domain to get the property.

Political Correctness

There are at least tens of millions of conservatives in America who share strict father morality and its moral hierarchy. Many of them are poor or middle class and many are white men who see themselves as superior to immigrants, nonwhites, women, non-Christians, gays, and people who rely on public assistance. In other words, they are what liberals would call bigots. For many years, such bigotry has not been publicly acceptable, especially as more immigrants have arrived, as the country has become less white, as more women have become educated and moved into the workplace, and as gays have become more visible and gay marriage acceptable.

As liberal anti-bigotry organizations have loudly pointed out and made a public issue of the un-American nature of such bigotry, those conservatives have felt more and more oppressed by what they call “political correctness” — public pressure against their views and against what they see as “free speech.” This has become exaggerated since 9/11, when anti-Muslim feelings became strong. The election of President Barack Obama created outrage among those conservatives, and they refused to see him as a legitimate American (as in the birther movement), much less as a legitimate authority, especially as his liberal views contradicted almost everything else they believe as conservatives.

Donald Trump expresses out loud everything they feel, with force, aggression, anger, and no shame. All they have to do is support and vote for Trump and they don’t even have to express their "politically incorrect:" views, since he does it for them and his victories make those views respectable. He is their champion. He gives them a sense of self-respect, authority and the possibility of power.

Why His Lack of Policy Detail Doesn’t Matter

I recently heard a brilliant and articulate Clinton surrogate argue to a group of Trump supporters that Trump has presented no policy plans for increasing jobs, increasing economics growth, improving education, gaining international respect, etc. This is the basic Clinton campaign argument. Hillary has the experience, the policy know-how, she can get things done, it’s all on her website. Trump has none of this.

What Hillary’s campaign says is true. And it is irrelevant.

Trump supporters and other radical Republican extremists could not care less, and for a good reason. Their job is to impose their view of strict father morality in all areas of life. If they have the Congress, and the presidency and the Supreme Court, they could achieve this. They don’t need to name policies, because the Republicans already have hundreds of policies ready to go. They just need to be in complete power.

    “Our propaganda was based on a clear insight into the psychology of the masses. Our opponents appealed to reason, lived under the delusion that through political education the masses will become discerning and made immune to our poison. I’ve never had these illusions. I knew the utter lack of critical spirit in the mass, which doesn’t allow it to see contradictions. I knew that the mass will follow more easily the appeal to hatred and national honor, to rash action and excitement, than the call for insight and reason, that habituation and conditioning will stir it towards anything, even to war, for which we had to win them.” ~ Joseph Goebbels


~ “The lamentable, endlessly recurring cycle of atrocity and counter-atrocity that has been so characteristic of human history derives significantly from the turning to metaphysical illusion in the effort to evade the traumatizing impact of human finitude. A vivid contemporary example is provided by post-9/11 America and its “rhetoric of evil.”

The seeds of the rhetoric of evil can be found in the ancient religious metaphysics, originating in Persia and pervasive in contemporary religious fundamentalism, known as “Manichaeism”—the idea that the movement of history is explained by an eternal struggle between the forces of good and the forces of evil. In the rhetoric of evil, Manichaeism is harnessed for political purposes — one’s own group is claimed to embody the forces of good, and the opposing group, the forces of evil. Through such attributions, which are inherently nationalistic or ethnocentric, one’s political aims are justified as being in the service of the good.

The essence of emotional trauma lies in the shattering of what I called the “absolutisms of everyday life,” the system of illusory beliefs that allow us to function in the world, experienced as stable, predictable, and safe. Such shattering is a massive loss of innocence exposing the inescapable contingency of existence on a universe that is chaotic and unpredictable and in which no safety or continuity of being can be assured. Emotional trauma brings us face to face with our finitude and existential vulnerability and with death and loss as possibilities that define our existence and that loom as constant threats. Often traumatized people try to restore the lost illusions shattered by trauma through some form of what I have called “resurrective ideology."

Following 9/11, the Bush administration declared war on global terrorism and drew America into a grandiose, holy crusade that enabled Americans to feel delivered from trauma, chosen by God to rid the world of evil and to bring their way of life (= goodness) to every people on earth. Through such resurrective ideology and its rhetoric of evil, Americans could evade the excruciating existential vulnerability that had been exposed by the attack and once again feel great, powerful, and godlike. A similar evasion can seen at work when the man-made deadly threats of climate change are attributed to benign metaphysical entities such as God or Nature.

Is there an alternative to metaphysical illusion and destructive resurrective ideology? Yes, we must dwell with one another in our common human finitude so that our shared existential vulnerabilities can be brought into dialogue where they can be held and better borne.” ~

Perhaps the core of intellectual maturity is the perception that nothing (well, practically nothing) is all good or all bad — it's a complex and shifting weave of all shades, not just of gray but of all colors, some yet unnamed.

This is a great article — and so relevant to ideas like “make America great again.” That’s the post-9/11 “resurrective ideology.”

The essence: “The seeds of the rhetoric of evil can be found in the ancient religious metaphysics, originating in Persia and pervasive in contemporary religious fundamentalism, known as “Manichaeism”—the idea that the movement of history is explained by an eternal struggle between the forces of good and the forces of evil.

In the rhetoric of evil, Manichaeism is harnessed for political purposes — one’s own group is claimed to embody the forces of good, and the opposing group, the forces of evil. Through such attributions, which are inherently nationalistic or ethnocentric, one’s political aims are justified as being in the service of the good.”

An abandoned Soviet observatory. ”Those places lost their significance together with the utopian ideology, which is now obsolete," says Tkachenko. (Looks like an UFO, doesn’t it?)


Admirers of Harper Lee's classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird have been shocked by the transformation of the lawyer Atticus Finch into a racist in the newly published Go Set a Watchman, set 20 years later. But psychologist William von Hippel says it should not necessarily be a surprise — he argues that it's not unusual for people to become more prejudiced as they get older.

 Psychologists used to believe that greater prejudice among older adults was due to the fact that older people grew up in less egalitarian times. In contrast to this view, we have gathered evidence that normal changes to the brain in late adulthood can lead to greater prejudice among older adults.

The frontal lobes are the last part of the brain to develop as we progress through childhood and adolescence, and the first part of the brain to atrophy as we age. Atrophy of the frontal lobes does not diminish intelligence, but it degrades brain areas responsible for inhibiting irrelevant or inappropriate thoughts. Research suggests that this is why older adults have greater difficulty finding the word they're looking for — and why there is a greater likelihood of them voicing ideas they would have previously suppressed.

Famous people are at a disadvantage when their frontal lobes start to shrink, as many of their utterances are part of the public record. But disinhibition is also costly for people outside the public eye. When I was teaching at Williams College in Massachusetts, an African-American student told me how her white grandfather had recently started referring to her as his "little nigger grandchild". She was shocked and hurt by this, and couldn't understand why her grandfather would say such a thing when she knew he loved her and was still mentally alert. The consequences of his disinhibited words were substantial, although he was creating friction only with family and friends.

In our research we have found evidence of a variety of problems of this kind. For example, older adults in our experiments are more likely than younger adults to rely on stereotypes and they have more difficulty than younger adults suppressing their stereotypic thoughts. But it doesn't stop there — we find that older adults are more likely to be socially insensitive across a variety of domains. Furthermore, all of these effects only emerge among older adults who show signs of poor frontal lobe functioning.

Our research indicates that older adults simply have greater difficulty suppressing prejudices than younger adults do.

To return to Atticus Finch, it does indeed seem that some older adults start to show prejudice even if they never did before. Such changes in social attitudes are not inevitable, but they are common. And the people who find themselves becoming less tolerant or more prejudiced can be quite unsettled by the shift in their own attitudes — a change that can affect friendships and their position in society.


Schizophrenic individuals who experience auditory hallucinations seem to hear voices emanating from within their own skulls. These voices are often vulgar or derogatory; they may constantly criticize one’s actions or command the listener to commit destructive acts, such as self-harm or violence. Sometimes, hallucinations consist of not voices but sounds—whispers, growls, or screeching. In Allie’s case, numerous voices chattered away in a foreign language, distracting her as she took tests in high school and college.

Interestingly enough, the same brain areas that activate when people hear real noise also light up in schizophrenics during hallucinatory episodes. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans, several studies have found increased activation in Broca’s area (a language processing region) and in the primary auditory cortex in schizophrenics as they “hear” voices that aren’t real.

That tiny part of the brain that is so critical to processing auditory information in humans, the primary auditory cortex, is often smaller in schizophrenic individuals. Across multiple fMRI studies, researchers have found that reduced volume of the anterior superior temporal gyrus (which contains part of the auditory cortex) in schizophrenics is correlated with increased severity of hallucinatory episodes.

Researchers [also] found that subjects with a history of hallucinations demonstrated reduced connectivity from Wernicke’s area (language processing) to Broca’s area (speech production).

This disconnect may explain the brain’s confusion of internally generated thoughts with external voices. Hoffman proposes that hyperactivity in the left frontal lobe combined with a weakened connection may lead to Broca’s area “dumping” language into Wernicke’s area—a part of the brain that normally receives speech information from the outside. A passing thought may be experienced as a whisper in one’s ear.

To test this theory, Hoffman and colleagues have experimented with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), a noninvasive method that can inhibit small regions of the brain by producing light electric currents—in this case, reducing the hyperactivity of Broca’s area and portions of the temporal lobe. Although results are preliminary, most patients treated with TMS seem to experience relief from their auditory hallucinations, with improvements lasting anywhere from two months to a year. If validated in larger-scale studies, TMS could become an alternative treatment option.


One type of voice that a schizophrenic may hear is a running commentary on the person’s action: “She’s just picked up her books. Now she’s leaving the classroom.” But more typical is a chorus of negative voices. These voices are critical, even abusive: taunting, mocking, persecuting.

Now, almost all people have an “inner critic” — a nasty inner nag that with maturity, and with luck, we can replace with the voice of self-compassion and nurturing self-encouragement. But almost all of us grew up with lots of criticism, convinced that “I'm not OK” — so the “inner critic” is a term that’s immediately understood. Imagine hearing amplified “inner critics” — in plural, and as voices actually speaking to you, as if from the outside. The radio is speaking to you. The band is singing an insulting song about you.

We need to remember that schizophrenia is a brain disease associated with atrophy, i.e. actual loss of neural tissue (there is a similarity to Alzheimer’s here), and the loss of connectivity. The larger the volume loss in the auditory cortex, the more severe the auditory hallucinations.

There is no denying that childhood trauma plays a role in schizophrenia, and that stress makes the symptoms worse (as do stimulants, in contrast to tranquilizers). Nevertheless, it’s the deteriorating brain of the sufferer that badly needs rescue. Anti-inflammatory and anti-epileptic drugs show promise, as does non-invasive stimulation of certain neural areas. 

Marcel Duchamp Descending a Staircase, photo by Eliot Elisofon, 1952
ending on beauty:

The day is done, and the darkness
Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward
From an eagle in his flight.

~ H.W. Longfellow

This is not accurate — darkness does not really fall like a feather dropped by an eagle in his flight. But no matter — we are too enchanted by the verbal music to be analyzing the content. 

Dusk, the coast of Finland. Photo: David Whyte


  1. Um yeah, your posts are very long - where do you find the time?! πŸ˜„ Nice poetry though.

    I found your blog through something I was searching about Loki on Google. So - you think *Trump* is *Loki*, or like him?? πŸ˜† I never heard THAT one before!! Anyway, aren't Tricksters supposed to be smart? On another post you have all about how limited his vocabulary is; so I dunno... (And then there's all that stuff about "the strict father".. hmm.. I'd say that a conservative is about the last thing that a Trickster is!)

    I like some of the illustrations: also the idea that the Trickster archetype may be the quintessential one of the USA (like the Romantic one, which would be yer Wotan, might be for Germany?)

    It's a nice idea: America being a young country and all: but the US *is* still very Puritan, you know... You're not even allowed to say a bad word on! πŸ˜ƒ

    I think the Trickster archetype is more expressive of *outsiders* in the US: Br'er Rabbit for the slaves; Bugs Bunny for working-class yet smart, refined, possibly gay rabbits with Brooklyn accents?! πŸ˜„ And so on.

    But if Trump DOES wanna cast himself as Trickster God and not just as buffoon - WELL - maybe he should watch out! That Snaptun Stone photo you display; it bears the scars of where Loki got his lips sewn up!! Maybe someone'll do it to the Donald! Tricksters have a tendency to overreach! Btw, I'm a Lokean myself AND I KNOW!!! πŸ˜„

  2. Hi Liz,

    Thanks for commenting. A quick clarification: I found a lazy way to create my blog posts — I post excerpts from various articles, and then comment on those. So my own writing starts only under the link and is indicated by “Oriana.” I worry that perhaps this is not clear enough. I think I’ll start using the author’s name at the end of the article excerpt. I'm a bit of a Lokean myself, as all writers must be (Kafka being among the most cunning), but I wouldn’t want to be mistaken for a plagiarist.

    You are right: Trump isn’t quite quick-witted enough to be fully Loki, and certainly not sophisticated and refined — rather a more ordinary, less charming con-man, stiffing his contractors, not paying taxes, etc. And his misuse of words, constant repetitions, and limited vocabulary all point to early stages of cognitive decline. So at best we can say that he has a Loki aspect, just as he has an aspect of Enlightenment liberalism as opposed to Puritanism, as Margaret Atwood points out — but is not exactly a shining icon of Enlightenment, to put it mildly.

    That this kind of man would try to present himself as a champion of the Puritan right wing is a paradox that I suspect we’ll be parsing for some time to come.

  3. Great, Oriana!

    (I used to sing madrigals about Oriana!) :-)

    Thank you for putting my post up, and commenting! I knew you were citing stuff. But the poems are original, aren't they? I loved the one about the cleaning lady!

    Yes - about Trump! (Pity we/you (I'm British) can't have a *really* smart President/realistic candidate.) So you think he's showing signs of cognitive decline- worrying! 😦

    Tell you what he *is* good at though. He's still a very good salesman. And he uses *emotion* to better effect than Hillary. Good salespeople do! And he sounds like he genuinely *believes* what he is saying; even all that stupid stuff about the wall. Were I American, I feel *I* might be tempted to believe him! The thing is, even in my twenties, my critical sense was always well-developed enough to ask things like *how* is he going to bring manufacturing jobs back to the US? (In UK, interviewers* always* ask aspiring leaders/parties these questions; campaigns do not depend on personal issues/slurs alone! And there *has* been quite a lot of "flyting" going on in this one, hasn't there? ;-) The latest conclusion of mine seems to be that *either* of them could face criminal charges after the election; whoever doesn't win it! πŸ˜„ Trump accused of rape and all: this has turned out to be a real old soap opera, crossed with a Roman orgy!)

    So which way is it going to go? Does it matter? Probably to the Hispanics who Radio 4 says are all voting for Hillary. Also that bloke who co-wrote Trump's autobiography has given interviews to the effect that he thinks Donald is too emotionally volatile to be trusted with the nuclear codes... All that stuff about him being in the pay of Russia is probably bogus though. But maybe we all *should* be worried... (Let's face it though: nobody thinks either candidate is marvellous... Nobody intelligent!)

  4. Oh yes and in reply to your last sentence, perhaps the problem is that the entire establishment of the Republican party is rather Puritan (more so than in say, the 1950s?) and that is a problem for the secular, hedonistic type of conservative like Trump.

    But I think a lot of religious conservatives are going to vote for him. Months ago, I think again on BBC R4, I heard this middle-American type male averring that Trump
    might not be the cleanest politician, but that he would get the job done - comparing him to a pest exterminator hired to rid a basement of raccoons! Quite a sinister metaphor if you think about it. This voter was sincere!

    But I think that the Religious Reich (ever read the late Isaac Bonewits's site, ☺) has a significantly lesser hold on US politics than in Bill Clinton's or G W Bush's day. And you think...?

  5. This whole campaign is a giant embarrassment and just one irony after another . . . Trump the libertine and atheist (pretty much; his religiosity is so fake and sudden), Trump the billionaire con man as a champion of the impoverished rural Puritans, it's just too much . . . This whole campaign is too much. Alas, even Hillary's probable victory won't be the end of the hatred and endless political war. Very sad.

    Well, I have to move on -- things to do, places to go (mostly my life is quiet, but there are those sudden events, crises, eruptions . . . and just plain chores).

    Please watch for my upcoming blog (11-6: Dante goes mad) -- I have a feeling you'll enjoy the opening poem, one of my most lyrical.

    It's been lovely chatting with you.

    1. Oh yeah: and do you have a Twitter, Oriana? I'd love to be able to tweet/retweet you! ��

      Another little bit on Tricksters: mythological/classic/dream-symbol variety. (I think I need to get onto too.) The above article *is* a bit negative: about Tricksters in general: not only Loki, who always gets bad press, because the medieval Christians rewrote his story! And the modern ones (even Marvel Comics, though they relent sometimes) seem to be happy keeping up the Dualistic propaganda..

      It says above that the Trickster "arrives at times of uncertainty, to bring change, often of the bad kind". Well, THAT'S a negative way to put it! ��

      Let me rather quote from my little reference book from the Dorling Kindersley series, which is full of little sound bite sized quotable nuggets, useful for when I want to explain to people about Tricksters, or other Jungian archetypes.

      The K.I.S.S. Guide to Dreams, by Lisa Lenard. Starting p. 37: "The trickster aspect often plays subtle - or not-so-subtle - jokes to keep the ego from taking itself too seriously. At the same time, the trickster is a changeling - capable of altering his form at will. He often appears in our dreams when we overreach or misjudge."

      Further on: "the trickster makes an appearance only when the ego has backed itself into a corner [OK. OK; like the US or the two main parties appear to have, this time -you COULD say!]... Like the shadow, the trickster represents our personal potential for transformation: but unlike the shadow the trickster is a mocking presence, not a threatening one."

      See? The Trickster, whether a god or a dream-figure, is a NICE guy, really! That's why *I'm* a Lokean! ����

      Loki *usually* acts like this, also from the above: "The Jester has traditionally played a role in literature that is remarkably similar to the trickster archetype. He often brings to light a truth that other characters cannot articulate."

      Some may call Loki the God of Lies. But that's the Christians- *and* Marvel Comics *and* Neil Gaiman, who copy them.

      But *real* Lokeans know better. He's the God of Inconvenient Truths. THAT'S the real Loki.

      As for "the real Donald Trump": dunno, but I don't think so: for he lacks insight; even ( especially) into himself.

      Anyway, he seems like such a *malign* presence to me: so maybe more like Jung's animalistic shadow; rather than the merry, mocking jester/Trickster. (You notice Loki in the Icelandic illuminated manuscript above is garbed as a jester. And I believe that to be an effective jester, you need insight into both your society and yourself. Republican politics and celebrity culture both don't foster this.)

      The Baffler above may characterize Loki as "a master maligner who delivered cutting put-downs in an epic roast of the other lords of Asgard."

      Yes. That references the Lokasenna. But then: that represented a very bad time - though possibly not the worst - in my Boss' life. One of the few occasions on which he truly lost his rag.

      So *what's Trump's excuse*? For all his misogyny and mean malice and so on??

      (Loki was provoked. Even Marvel Comics acknowledges this. At the very least, he was slighted like the Maleficent-fairy at the king's banquet!)

      So what makes Trump come over so all Disney-villain? (He's gone a bit conciliatory now: wait for him to start up again soon! His shallow gratitude won't last. ��)

  6. Will do! ;-) I shall add you to my follows! (Do try the site; it's still maintained &I feel tge writer was a man after my own heart! Funny, too!)

  7. No, I don't have a Twitter account. It's distracting enough to be on Facebook.

    Sorry not to have responded sooner -- as felt numb and sick yesterday -- I mean physically unwell, though probably mainly to the emotional upset. Also, there is some turbulence in my life on a different front . . . you know how one thing goes wrong, and next it's car repairs, then plumbing etc etc. A most peculiar law of life, it seems. Maybe Loki is making fun of me.

    Anyway, thank you for all your input. We'll no doubt see more than one archetype in Trump . . .