Messiah Failure Syndrome and Sacrificial Regicide
Oh wait. They did.
Along these familiar lines, Grotstein's foreword mentions Freud's first approach to the subject, in which he proposed "that the group may act in a way which is analogous to the psychology of an individual, and its component members characteristically project their egos, as well as ego ideals, onto the group leader, thereby creating a state of idealization and idealized expectation of the latter."
In the past, I have mentioned that when a patient has an immediate and powerful idealizing transference, one can expect equally strong anger and devaluation to appear later, just as soon as the therapist inevitably fails to live up to the idealized expectations (the reverse can also occur; thus, the apoplectic Bush derangement of the left was a premonition of their absurd idealization of his successor).
Again, this is the stage Obama finds himself in with respect to his supporters. At first they attempted to maintain their own beautiful illusions by outright ignoring or denying Obama's many gaffes, missteps, and general cluelessness.
But interestingly, in order to protect themselves from seeing their own foolishness and naivete, they must go through the ritual of either "discovering" that Obama is not what they pretended he was, or of describing some rationalized scheme whereby Obama somehow deviated from his better self.
Very few millennialists are introspective enough to direct the critical spotlight on their own inner workings, and ask themselves not just "what was I thinking?," but "what motivated me to spin this once-in-a-generation world-historical leader out of my own psychic substance?"
It is like the bad marriage that begins with the self-deception that belives the lie. Soon enough the lovely loving congeals into the hateful hates, after which comes the conversation with the flying plates. Thus, Obama's instinct is to throw plates at the messenger, which would ultimately be you (that is, you apostates who once supported the Messiah; the Times also tosses dinnerware at the stupid misinformed Americans who have disappointed Dear Leader.)
One way to avoid introspection is to convert messianic disappointment to rage. Thus, we are already seeing a considerable amount of outrageous rage being expressed by the left. Yes, this qualifies as a banality, as one could say the same of the left on any day of the year. The difference is, of course, that they are actually directing it at Obama rather than the frightful conservatives of their fevered imaginations.
Remember when criticism of Obama was prima facie evidence of racism, or xenophobia, or "fear of change"? That was yesterday's truth, comrade. Being on the left -- or in the United States of Amnesia -- means never having to say "I remember."
Remember when Rush Limbaugh was an unpatriotic racist for wanting Obama to fail? Now, with the exception of the usual true dead-enders, we all want him to fail on an urgent basis.
Two years ago Newsweek felt confident enough in its collective delusions to assure us that We Are All Socialists Now! Today Obama is reaching Carter-like levels of political radioactivity. The irony is that the progressive wants the sort of superficial "change" that keeps everything the same on a deeper level. In truth they want no change with regard to their visions of infantile dependency and fulfillment via the omnicompetent State. They just want a new mommy to administer it.
Note that the 'Crats are not deserting their stinking shit, as this would be tantamount to abandoning their religulous faith. Rather, they are flushing the craptain down the toilet, with the unconscious fantasy that they can project the source of the stink into him and leave it all behind. Which wouldn't work anyway, because we would still be left with his gaseous number two, Joe Biden.
This is the well-known logic of primitive sacrifice. Just as all of our hopes and dreams my be projected into the fantasy leader, so too may our fear, dread, anger, and rage.
When the latter happens, it is time to kill the king, either in reality or symbolically. But the more things superficially change, the more the wrong remains the same on a deep unconscious level. It's like when a baseball team loses 100 games. What do the owners do? Fire the manager. Then hire another failed old white guy to replace him.
Here is an example of sacrificial regicide, plucked at random from my library: "Frazer has acquainted us with the fact that the king himself may be sacrificed for the welfare of society; it is not surprising that the body of a king can be eaten by his successor. In Nigeria, the king of Julsum was only allowed to rule for seven years. During that period, if he fell ill, or sneezed or coughed, or fell off his horse, he might be put to death." No wonder Michelle wants to control our eating habits!
Speaking of indigestion, this brings up an important point. That is, the fantasy leader must maintain the illusion of strength in order to both contain and withstand all of the primitive unconscious material being directed his way. According to Susskind's new book, Obama himself recognizes this:
“Obama often felt that performance pressure -- having to play the part of president, in charge and confident, each day, in front of his seasoned, combative, prideful team, many of whom had, all together, recently served another president.... As he confided to one of his closest advisers, after a private display of uncertainty, ‘I can’t let people see that, I don’t want the staff to see that... But I get up every morning. It’s a heavy burden.’” Indeed. Especially for the narcissist who has no inner core of genuine strength. Rather, the only strength he possesses is the perception that he is strong. Once the projections are withdrawn, only the little boy remains.
Grotstein continues with a very brief tutorial that explains the irreducible intrapsychic complementarity of group <--> individual, the one conditioning the other:
"Long before brain laterality studies by neuropsychologists established the duality of normal consciousness" (left and right hemispheres), pioneering psychoanalysts such as R.D. Fairbairn discovered that the infant "treats (a) the object as part of the self and (b) the self as part of the object."
As a consequence, we have "an internal subculture of selves conducting 'conversations' and relationships of great labyrinthine complexity which nevertheless seem to bear a correspondence to their counterparts in the external world." This is not so much "as above, so below" as it is "as inside, so outside."
In this view, the "outside" -- including politics and culture -- becomes a kind of language through which we "speak" ourselves. However, at the same time, it means that we are generally restricted as to the who(s) we may speak -- or, more to the point, culture makes certain "selves" possible, while discouraging, punishing, or forbidding others.
Look at the culture of ancient Greece, which elevated man-boy love to an ideal, while denigrating male-female love. The fact that so many men "spoke" this perverse language -- or were spoken by it -- proves that homosexuality is not "genetic" (or certainly not only so).
What sorts of selves do the elites of contemporary American culture permit and reward? Well, they recently awarded their highest honor to a weak, feminized, metrosexual, faux-cerebral pseudo-intellectual with All the Right Beliefs, i.e., a projection of the idealized self-image of our vacuous media-tenured complex.
At the same time, there is nothing they detest more than a man who appears manly, whether it is Ronald Reagan, George Bush, or Rick Perry. For some reason they much prefer manly women, perhaps because the dreaded unconscious male energy needs to be projected somewhere.
Grotstein concludes his foreword by reminding us that "groups, like individuals, appear to have an Oedipal complex, and the selecting of a Messiah and of a human sacrifice seems to be its deeper function..."
Again, the one follows "logically" from the other, in that both are attempts to deal with troubling unconscious material, i.e., thoughts and what to do with them. Over and over again throughout history, men have conformed to the pattern of 1) create an unrealistic ideal, a messiah, and 2) murder either him or convenient scapegoats when the messiah fails us, which he must inevitably do (with one notable exception, whose devotees don't need no stinkin' political messiahs, whether from the left or right; to put one's faith in a political messiah is to have left conservatism).