Demasking the Messiah on the Road to St. Paul
One of Bion's central ideas was that each of us has a part of the mind that is psychotic. Therefore, people who are actually psychotic are not so different from you or I. It's just that they have no sane part. Others seem only to have a sane part. They're the most insane, since they can get more done.
A corollary of this is that you can learn a lot about the sane by studying the psychotic mind. This is because the psychotic person uses all of the same defense mechanisms as the normal person, except that they are grotesquely exaggerated, distorted, and hypertrophied. As a result, these mechanisms become quite vivid and easily discernible, whereas for a normal person they will be more subtle and hidden -- even (or especially) from the person employing them.
Let's take an obvious example, projection. We all project. In fact, we can't help it, as it is one of the necessary (but not sufficient) conditions of our humanness. For the infant, projection is one of the primary means they use to manage their psychic contents. For example, they can use it to "expel" uncomfortable or frightening thoughts and emotions, but at the same time, employ it as a means of "connecting" with mother. The fact of the mater is, in the absence of projection, you would be all alone in this world. It is as necessary to the mind as the immune system is to the body. To extend the analogy, mental illness often comes down to an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system (i.e, psychic defense mechanisms) goes haywire and turns on the host, and either can't recognize real enemies or attacks the wrong entities.
Look at the Democrat convention. A big part of it involves a bunch of losers who don't feel so alone because they are able to share the experience of similar "good" projections into Obama or the Clintons on the one hand, as well as bad projections into President Bush, or Dick Cheney, or Evil Corporations, or Global Warming Hoax Deniers, or God knows what. Nothing unites a people so much as fear around an identical demonology. You know, the same way that conservatives such as you and I are so afraid of homosexuals, negroes, furriners and revinooers.
Who can say what goes on inside the head of someone who idealizes these phonies, knaves, liars and and con artists? The key point is that these processes primarily take place in the head. But when you're in a group of thousands of others sharing the identical projections, it no longer feels as if it's in the head. Rather, it feels real. And the whole point is to make the fantasy seem like reality, which is why people get so glassy-eyed and ecstatic at these events. But enough about the MSNBC hosts. (Although I can't wait to see their heads explode next week, when they have to enter the "hell" of St. Paul.)
The projectors obviously felt that Joe Biden delivered a wonderful speech last night. But if you apply even a rudimentary degree of skepticism -- i.e., if you analyze the speech with the sane part of your mind instead of the psychotic part -- you're left with nothing but a lowly plagiarist and his imaginary world. What do you call someone who steals his delusions from someone else? A coprophagic psychic vampire, I guess.
I think you can apply this same idea to Hitler. That is, it is not as if he were analogous to a psychotic person whose symptoms seem to make no sense. Rather, what if we look at him as Bion would, and consider the possibility that he was engaging in the identical processes as the "sane" politician, only in an exaggerated, distorted and hypertrophied form? Because Hitler used the usual psychic processes so vividly, perhaps they can reveal something about the dynamic between so-called normal groups and their politicians.
The most prominent pre-existing template Hitler relied upon was that of the "messiah" and the "group." Obviously Hitler invented neither of these categories. Looked at in a certain way, the group is a function of the messiah, and vice versa. (I'm using "messiah" as a psychoanalytic term of art, not in a specifically theological sense; it would be even better if I could develop abstract symbols for group and messiah, as in the new testavus for the restavus.)
On the one hand, the messiah is produced out of the collective longing of the group; but on the other hand, the group coalesces and organizes itself around the nonlocal axis of its founding messiah. All cultures -- even wholly secular ones -- will have a messianic figure at their foundation (a culture is always a cult). Look at what the Soviet Union did with Lenin, the Chinese with Mao, or Cuba with Castro. At some point, the human slides off into the messianic, just as reality shades off into fantasy and projection.
For example, in the Islamic world, Mohammed serves the messianic function. Obviously Mohammed is a very different sort of figure than Christ, and was "conjured," so to speak, by a very different mentality (i.e., Jews vs. pagans). But once in place, the messiah exerts an enduring influence on the group. As a result, Muslim values are very different from the Judeo-Christian values that hold our culture together from within.
Look at America. Our messianic figures are the founders, or Abraham Lincoln, or a few others. Our country -- half of it, anyway -- is still unified around those figures. But the other half either distorts those messianic figures (e.g., they were nothing but slaveholders, or self-interested elites), or else creates new messiahs around which to coalesce.
Who are the messiahs of the left? Frankly they are too numerous to mention. Remember what I mentioned about how genuine religions serve as a kind of absolute defense against bad ideologies? For example, yesterday a friend asked if perhaps Ronald Reagan wasn't a savior to conservatives. Yes, to a certain extent. But no conservative would confuse him with the actual Messiah. Rather, one of the things that made Reagan so great was that he humbly conformed himself to our actual messiahs, both religious and political. In fact, you might say that this constitutes the essence of that which the conservative wishes to conserve: the proper messiahs! We want to worship and revere only that which is worthy of it.
By definition, the left is going to be more prone to messianic fantasies (as opposed to messianic realities). Which is highly highly highly ironic, being that the realitybasedcommunity likes to flatter itself about being so realitybased. But one cannot be rooted in reality if one is a materialist who denies the very basis of the Real. And a (or "the," if you prefer) messiah comes down precisely to reveal the nature of the Real, in a way that unaided reason never could. The messiah is a person first, an argument second. Or the argument is a Person. Which is why you can't argue with an Obamaniac, since Obama is the argument. Either you "see" Him or you don't. I don't see him at all. To me, he's just an unsuccessful community agitator.
Coonsider the demonic Deepak, who ardently wishes to purge politics of religion (by which he means Christianity); but at the same time, he is one of the most strident useful idiots trumpeting the arrival of the Obamessiah and the "quantum leap" of "evolutionary consciousness" he represents. This makes sense, for again, Christianity is an absolute defense against the false messianism of an Obama.
It is surely no coincidence that Obama was a member of a deeply false and heretical Christian church for all those years, so he has no psychic defense against his own ridiculous grandiosity. You will have no doubt noticed that the Reverend Wright's sermons are most memorable for their crude demonology, which is entirely consistent with the abiding demonology of the left. As such, it is clear that Obama hasn't left that particular church at all, but is running for its messiah. Biden is also a member of that church, as he mentioned all the familiar demons in his speech last night: torture, Bush, tax cuts for the rich, Bush, global warming, Bush, Gitmo, Bush, Katrina, Bush, fortymillionuninsured, incomeinequality, etc. (Here is the actual recipe.)
And liberals like to say conservatives "play on our fears." Ho! Leftism is nothing but a coalesced group projection around Fear Itself.
This post was supposed to be about Hitler, wasn't it? I should probably stop now and continue tomorrow. Well, just a little more.
It so happens that Hitler was very interested in religion, spirituality, mysticism and the occult. What survives of his library contains many such books. He clearly read them carefully, as they are filled with underlining, exclamation points, and margin notes. In one of them, he underlined the following passages:
Where did Jesus derive the power that has held his followers for all eternity? Through his absolute identification with God.... God and I are One.... His life is mine; mine is his. My work is his work, and his work is my work.
Watch the new messiah become one with his entranced, teary-eyed, and drooling people tonight. But enough about MSNBC.