Is Transcendence Emerging from Trump’s Impeachment?
EDITORIAL, 22 Feb 2021
The storming of the US Capitol on January 6 was a wake-up call for many in congress, Fox News and beyond. Several Republicans, alarmed by the terrorizing mobs, changed their votes and certified Biden.
This bubble-bursting moment separated “the men from the boys.” It differentiated those with a terror-induced shockable conscience from immature, incorrigible Republicans, spearheaded by Senators Hawley and Cruz. Alarmingly, seven Senators and 122 Representatives voted to acquit Trump.
The insurrection rapidly triggered Trump’s second impeachment, leading to the Senate trial. Weeks of shifting dynamics included President Biden’s inauguration and victories of Georgia Democratic Senators Warnock and Osoff. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wisely appointed Jamie Raskin to lead nine impeachment managers, who demonstrated transcendent leadership.
Enantiodromia and the Transcendent Function
As years of escalating, fear-mongering incitement erupted into a shocking crescendo, I sensed an archetypal dynamic was set in motion. I texted Pythia Peay, my only friend who would understand, “Enantiodromia, methinks… Watching the Senate now. Very moving.” Pythia replied, “Exactly the right word, Diane! The whole night has been simply stunning and I almost can’t believe what I am watching.”
Greek philosopher Heraclitus, described Enantiodromia meaning “running in the opposite direction.” Carl Jung, founder of analytical psychology applied this psychological law to individual and collective life. When things go too far to one extreme, they eventually change into their opposite, as a regulatory function of the psyche.
After the November election, Trump intensified political hysteria, driving opposites to extremes with fabrications, (see Abracadabraism) tweets, lawsuits, rallies and marches, fueling the insurrection.
Jung’s concept of the Transcendent Function, considered the most significant psychological factor for mediating the opposites, elucidates the process of transformation. It is akin to Galtung’s Transcend Method which transcends the destructive pull to either side.
Newtonian Politics v Quantum Politics
Those who think the 57-43 Senate vote to acquit Trump was a terrible defeat are correct on the material plane. But, as Sting says in my very favorite song, “there is a deeper world than this.” In the quantum realm invisible forces, dimensions, connections, dynamics and probabilities are in flux with potential for conscious evolution.
In last week’s TMS editorial, Richard Falk wrote, “My unprovable hypothesis and firm belief is that hegemony wins out today, but legitimacy triumphs tomorrow.” Perhaps today’s victory of hegemony is part of the enantiodromian movement towards legitimacy. But legitimacy doesn’t triumph by itself. It’s work. Jung said, consciousness is a work against nature, an opus contra naturam.
From the quantum perspective of psychological dynamics, although convicting Trump would serve justice and feel gratifying, his acquittal may expedite the playing out the opposites and ultimately promote a best-case scenario.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell embodied enantiodromia, flipping into his own opposite. After voting to acquit Trump he gave a powerful speech about Trump’s guilt.
There was a deeper moral victory in the court of public opinion and the biggest bipartisan majority in the history of impeachments. Trump’s acquittal on a technicality may have calmed some for the moment. This provides psychological space for those struggling with defeat, humiliation and betrayal in this in-between state, allowing wise empathic leaders opportunities to process and heal. The acquittal may ultimately, portend a better outcome.
Impeachment Dynamics and Arising Transcendence
Saturday Night Live Weekend Update anchor Colin Jost captured the absurdities of the trial. “This has to be the dumbest trial I have ever seen… The jurors deciding the case were the ones attacked by the defendant. The trial took place at the scene of the crime. And then right after the trial ended, one of the jurors (Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell) who voted to acquit Trump ran out and said, “Someone should prosecute this guy. He did it. He belongs in jail. .. If you are going to impeach a president for anything don’t you think it’s sending a mob to kill the vice president?”
Many expressed outrage over the Senate’s failure to convict Trump. Not I. Having spent days with goosebumps and tears, witnessing psychologically mature leaders vibrating at a higher frequency, I felt something deep evolving.
Political commentator David Frum tweeted, “Maybe you don’t think so. But today was a good day.” He wrote, It’ll Do.
Blogger Umair Haque wrote, “ I was deeply, deeply impressed by the Democrats managing Trump’s second impeachment. Their case for the prosecution wasn’t just stunning. This was everything that I’ve wanted from American politics, my whole adult life. Courage, intellect, passion, reflection, history, truth. It was raw, real, and fierce.”
Some Republicans changed votes. Some afraid to convict recognized absurdities. All face consequences, in flux.
Splitting and the Dread of Integration
Differentiation of opposites is a function of healthy development preceding integration at a higher level, promoting individuation and maturity. With trauma, opposites split, causing a dread of integration. Leaders who integrate opposites, Gandhi, MLK, Sadat, and Rabin, are assassinated by those who split.
Splitting corresponds to Galtung’s DMA Syndrome, Dualism-Manicheism-Armageddon, dividing the world into us/them, good/evil, Democrat/Republican, in a win/lose “battle with no compromise, no transcendence, only the victory of one over the other.[i]”
Splitting is evident in the compulsion to censure, punish, and kill courageous Republicans who voted to impeach and convict Trump and chants to “hang Mike Pence” for certifying Biden’s election.
Transcendence Manifest – Jamie and the Giant Impeachers [ii]
Galtung’s Transcend Method entails bridging legitimate goals of conflicted parties to create a new reality.
The transcendent impeachment managers, brilliantly led by Jamie Raskin, were individually and as a synergized team. They worked day and night to save our democracy, leaving no stone unturned. They raised politics to an art form.
Although Democrats, they outshined old guard partisans with a deeper brand of patriotism, sense of history, humanity and love. They raised politics to an art form.
They convinced mature, courageous Republicans to join them on a higher plane, opposed by immature, destructive partisans. Witnessing something superior, we tasted what’s possible.
“The mind, once enlightened, cannot again become dark.”
— Jamie quoted Thomas Payne, for whom Jamie’s son was named
Such magnetic attraction can draw psychic energy from the opposites, not to a center between right and left but a higher place. It’s not about right and left, but life and death… and birth.
“The confrontation of the two positions generates a tension charged with energy and creates a living, third thing ….. a movement out of the suspension between the opposites, a living birth that leads to a new level of being, a new situation.” — Carl Jung
An Example of Galtung’s DPT Formula:
What Transcendence Looks Like
Umair Haque wrote, “There wasn’t a single moment of stupidity, ignorance, dishonesty, malice, cowardice, fakery, aw-shucksing good-ole-boyism, appeasement, complicity. It was the polar opposite of what American politics has become, was allowed to become, and what we all expect it to be, dumb, brain-dead, awful, and a big, stupid life.”
Arising from hate, Manager Joe Neguse said, “This trial is born from love of country.”
Stacey Plaskett introduced a powerful 13-minute video, laying an irrefutable foundation for the case. They trusted people to think for themselves, not told what to think.
Jamie made the unconscious conscious, pierced through attempts at mystification, and disarmed, rather than provoked people’s defenses, and called upon higher angels. Through Jamie’s opening argument,February 10, wrap up, February 11 and closing remarks, February 13 he showed
- Awe for history, democracy and humanity. “For most of history, the norm has been dictators, autocrats, bullies, despots, tyrants, cowards who take over our governments. For most of the history of the world, and that’s why America is such a miracle.”
- Egolessness – focus on higher purpose (a strong ego to withstand opposition, not a big ego,)
- Graciousness towards opposing counsel
- Elevation, “I want to thank you for your remarkable attention and your seriousness of purpose befitting your office.”
- Reminded jurors that history will judge them for this vote, though it might not be fair.
- Vulnerability – openly carrying son’s death, trauma from siege
- Endearing, said his children were “better than him.” Daughter Hannah expressed compassion for family of man who said goodbye to his children, leaving for Trump DC protest, not knowing if he would return alive.
- Humanized the “enemy.” “That shook me…The children of the insurrectionists—even the violent and dangerous ones—they’re our children, too.”
- Encouraged reflection, frequently asking “Senators, think about it for a second.”
- Used clarifying examples, metaphors, analogies, and slides.
- Creative framing, i.e “the January exception,” revealed absurdity of the argument that Trump can’t be impeached when out of office
- Reflective questioning. Regarding Trump’s refusal to testify – if “you were falsely accused, would you come and testify? I know I would.”
- Good answers for everything
- Called out hypocrisy about cancel culture, Trump’s “most reliable supporters in the House tried to cancel out Representative Cheney because of her courageous and patriotic defense of the republic and the truth and the Constitution.
- Many history lessons, quoted Voltaire, Franklin, Jefferson, Hamilton, Lincoln, Thomas Payne and his father, Marcus Raskin, whom I knew.
“Democracy needs a ground to stand upon. And that ground is the truth.”
— Marcus Raskin
“Never fight evil as if it were something that arises totally outside of yourself.”
— St Augustine
New potential revealed is not guaranteed. Conscious evolution must be cultivated to create “post-traumatic growth.”
This cannot be about Democrats and Republicans – the source of the problem that renders it unsolvable.Galtung’s model Diagnosis, Prognosis, Therapy requires an accurate diagnosis to guide appropriate therapy. We have seen the prognosis if we don’t act wisely.
My partial diagnosis: White supremacy is deeper than race. It’s about intolerable affects from loss of status, fear, envy and humiliation, grief, being unheard, forgotten and replaced. The Charlottesville cry, “Jews will not replace us” was not properly analyzed. Elitist Dems left a gaping, painful void that Trump easily filled with poison. We must collaborate to fill it with remembering, listening and healing.
Jamie said, “they’re our children, too.” Trump’s base are part of us, relegated to our shadow which when denied erupted into collective consciousness.
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who “prayed with his feet” marching with Martin Luther King said,
“Few are guilty, but all are responsible.” And, “It is an act of evil to accept the state of evil as either inevitable or final.”
There are glimmerings of a more perfect union. May we harness the energy of enantiodromia to give birth to a new reality. May our rescued democracy be a lesson and inspiration to others struggling to be born.
Johan always said he hates the US empire but loves the US republic. May we in the US emerge from this averted coup as the republic that Johan envisioned.
[i] Acknowledgements to both Roald Dahl author of 1961 popular children’s novel James and the Giant Peach and late-night comedian Stephen Colbert’s sketches on “Don and the Giant Impeach.”
Diane Perlman, PhD is a clinical and political psychologist, devoted to applying knowledge from psychology, conflict studies and social sciences to designing strategies and policies to reverse nuclear proliferation, to drastically reduce terrorism, reduce enmity, and to raise consciousness about nonviolent strategies for tension reduction and conflict transformation. She is a visiting scholar at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, is active in Psychologists for Social Responsibility, the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, and on the Global Council of Abolition 2000. Some of her writings can be found on her websites, www.consciouspolitics.org and www.SanityandSurvival.com. Email: email@example.com.
Tags: Anglo America, Conflict Analysis, Impeachment, Johan Galtung, Solutions, TRANSCEND Method, Transcendence, Trump, USA
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 22 Feb 2021.
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