But what if I should discover that the least amongst them all, the poorest of all beggars, the most impudent of all offenders, yea the very fiend himself─that these are within me, and that I myself stand in need of the alms of my own kindness, that I myself am the enemy who must be loved─what then?…. We hide him from the world, we deny ever having met this least among the lowly in ourselves, and had it been God himself who drew near to us in this despicable form, we should have denied him a thousand times before a single cock had crowed.[i]
~C. G. Jung
If this were a fairy tale, we could say there was a curse or a spell that has befallen our land. George Bush is the focal point of this spell, a magnet around which the spell becomes cast. Paradoxically, it is Bush’s extreme dissociation and complete lack of awareness that is the very source of his hypnotic power over the collective psyche of his followers. Bush’s talent as a hypnotist comes from the extent to which he himself is hypnotized.
Because he is so asleep and taken over by the unconscious, he has a natural, unconscious ability to trigger and attract other people’s unconscious projections. Bush’s state of being identified with his unconscious triggers an unconscious reflex in others who then become hooked─hypnotized─by Bush’s unconscious. Bush’s followers become taken in by the compelling and fascinating quality of the archetype that has taken over Bush and is using him for its mouthpiece. When someone such as Bush is unconsciously possessed by an archetype, he or she has a possessive, captivating and hence, “bewitching” effect on others. Because he has become so possessed by his unconscious, Bush is a conduit through which the unconscious, in its negative form, transmits, propagates, and incarnates itself in the pathology of malignant egophrenia.
Bush “charms” people, disarming and entrancing them, so that they will trust him and give their power away to him. His most effective weapon is sustaining a climate of fear. He “hooks” people by playing with their fears, which is how he is able to control and manipulate them. By inducing a primitive emotion such as fear, Bush de-potentiates the linear and logical part of the brain, and speaks directly to the reptilian, right part of the brain which is pre-verbal and has to do with our primal, animal survival instincts.
In a Freudian slip, Bush was unwittingly revealing his intention to manipulate and control others when he said, “See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.” Bush mesmerizes people by reciting simple, repetitive phrases─the “party line.” Nazi propaganda chief Goebbels said, “Propaganda must therefore always be essentially simple and repetitious…keep repeating them in this simplified form despite the objections of the intellectuals.” Bush’s talking points and buzz words are his “incantations.” These “magic words” act as opiates to the fearful masses. To quote ex-Harvard University President James Bryant Conant, “Some of mankind’s most terrible misdeeds have been committed under the spell of certain magic words or phrases.” This is, again, the power of the Word. And how do we make a word? We “spell” it.
Bush’s slogans, repeated again and again, to quote George Estabrooks, author of the classic book, Hypnotism, are “…‘burned’ into the receptive subconscious minds with the permanence of an image engraved on a photographic negative.” People’s minds then become “branded” and “imprinted” with Bush’s ideology. He has “hooked” a part of their attention, with which he can then control them. He has “captured” their self-reflective, discriminative awareness, and has restricted the range of their consciousness, which is the signature of a master hypnotist. Once entranced, just like members of a cult, Bush’s followers, just like Hitler’s, give their power over to him and become passive, subservient, and incapable of discerning truth from fiction. They become Bush’s “minions.”
Like any magician, Bush and his administration distract, create smokescreens, and divert the public’s attention from what they are really doing. Quite often, at the very moment when people’s focus is moving towards some area of criminality in the White House, the administration creates a diversionary event for the public to put their attention on.
Bush distracts, deceives and misleads the American public, twisting the truth beyond recognition to promote his political agendas and policies. He obfuscates and blurs the truth to such a degree that it makes honest political discussion, debate and dialogue, which is at the heart of true democracy, impossible. This results in many people believing what Bush is presenting as truth, while in actuality it is a well-concealed falsehood.
Another mind-control technique Bush uses, like any hypnotist, is presenting a double signal that is confusing and incomprehensible to the listener. Bush subtly contradicts himself, or says one thing while he is doing another, placing the listener in a double bind. This is very reminiscent of a parent who gives a conflicting message to a child: Either the child is aware of the double message and isn’t confused by it, or they collapse into an unconscious hypnotic state in which they have dis-connected from their inner discernment and dis-associated from their true self. Doing something, while at the same time explaining that he’s not doing it (like when Bush states, “We do not torture,” even though there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary), is both “crazy-making” while at the same time the mark of a “black magician.”
Bush’s flawless illogic, if followed unthinkingly, “lulls” the listener into a state of somnambulistic trance, as if they have fallen unconscious. Once people become “bewitched” by Bush’s spell, there is no talking with them rationally, as the logical part of their brain has been disarmed. Having fallen asleep, Bush’s loyalists fall into the shadow, of which they become unwitting agents. Jung said:
“the confrontation with the shadow [which can happen either inside ourselves or in the outer world] is not just a harmless affair that can be settled by “reason.” The shadow is the primitive who is still alive and active in civilized man, and our civilized reason means nothing to him.”
Bush is embodying a pathology that is contagious and very insidious, what I am calling “malignant egophrenia.” Bush’s sickness is such that he is able to “con” (there’s no neo in “con”) and seduce people into believing his own narcissistic delusions, which just feeds and supports his psychosis. Bush’s pathology is so extreme, he is actually able to transform and “dream up” reality as evidence confirming his delusion.
People who have fallen under Bush’s spell and support him have been unwittingly “drafted” into supporting a madman’s delusion. Once people become entranced by Bush, they become part of and absorbed into a self-generating “psychic epidemic” whose basis is fear and unconsciousness. This is why Jung said, “The supreme danger which threatens individuals as well as whole nations is a psychic danger.”[iii] Jung felt strongly that, “…political mass movements of our time are psychic epidemics, in other words, mass psychoses.”[iv] It is important to recognize that Bush and his supporters are all suffering from a “collective psychosis.” Once we recognize this, we snap out of our spell and go from being part of the problem to part of the solution. In other words, if you don’t see Bush is crazy, you’re crazy!
People who follow Bush as he leads us off a cliff are actually entranced by their own mind’s projections, hallucinating that Bush is a good leader─no matter how much overwhelming evidence there is to the contrary. People supporting Bush have had their critical, discriminative faculties disabled by Bush’s spell─his supporters are clearly not able to tell the difference between fantasy and reality. They simply split off from and ignore the cognitive dissonance between what Bush is saying and what he is actually doing.
People who can’t discriminate between fantasy and reality? People who can’t tell the difference between their hallucinations and what is real? Sounds like we’re describing people who are “crazy.” It is quite a shock to realize that if we supported Bush, we have fallen asleep, as if under a spell, and to say it more forcefully─have gone “temporarily insane.” What else would we call supporting a madman and criminal for our leader? Realizing that we have suffered a temporary “break from reality” is a shattering experience to be avoided at all costs. Because this realization is so painful to the ego, there is a dis-incentive to open our eyes and truly see what we have been doing.
This is why there is such incredible resistance among Bush supporters to self-reflect and look at the real world evidence: they would then come face to face with the devastating realization of having been “out of their minds” to support Bush. This is analogous to a cult member courageously snapping out of the collective brainwashing of the cult─it is simultaneously a liberating yet traumatizing realization, creating a form of post-traumatic stress disorder. The trauma of this realization is very disagreeable to the ego and therefore resisted at all costs. Trauma, it should be noted, is a sane response to an insane situation.
To see through our false illusions and imaginary projections and realize that Bush is actually a madman and criminal is an extremely shocking experience. To realize that we have given away our trust and power to someone we shouldn’t have is mortifying to the ego. To realize that we have been conned, swindled and our pockets picked is an infuriating, humiliating, and humbling experience. To realize that we’ve been hoodwinked into “selling our soul” is horrifying, truly our worst nightmare.
Realizing our complicity in Bush’s evil puts us in touch with our own guilt, shame, and sin, which, interestingly, is the very thing Bush himself seems unable to experience. The unwillingness to experience our guilt, shame, and sin is at the very root of the shadow projection which feeds malignant egophrenia. To consciously experience these shadow energies initiates the healing of the disease in ourselves. To quote Jung:
“If only people could realize what an enrichment it is to find one’s own guilt, what a sense of honor and spiritual dignity[v] …it is indeed no small matter to know of one’s own guilt and one’s own evil…without guilt, unfortunately, there can be no psychic maturation and no widening of the spiritual horizon.[vi]
Consciously experiencing our guilt, sin and shame cuts our arrogance to the quick, wounds our narcissism to the core, and humbles our ego. Jung pointed out that, “…one can miss not only one’s happiness but also one’s final guilt, without which a man will never reach his wholeness.”[vii] Seeing our own darkness gives rise to genuine remorse, which interestingly enough, is the very feeling Bush himself seems unable to experience. Egophrenia demands we own and experience the part of ourselves that we have denied.
Supporting George Bush is to fall under the dark power of delusion and allow ourselves to be deceived. To see the evil coming through George Bush, however, is to realize it is a reflection of our own evil. In supporting an abuser like Bush, we ourselves have become the abuser. This reflection is the very thing that we all look away from, as it shatters our image of who we imagine ourselves to be. To look in the mirror is to see our own dark side, the “other” in ourselves. Just as a vampire can’t stand the light of consciousness, the darkness in ourselves can’t stand to be seen, as to be seen takes away its autonomy and omnipotence. Jung commented:
“For the darkness has its own peculiar intellect and its own logic, which should be taken very seriously. Only the “light which the darkness comprehendeth not” can illuminate the darkness. Everything that the darkness thinks, grasps, and comprehends by itself is dark; therefore it is illuminated only by what, to it, is unexpected, unwanted, and incomprehensible.”[viii]
Those who have fallen into darkness experience people who are bringing light to their situation as being most unwelcome.
Once illumined, the darkness can’t act itself out through us unconsciously anymore. This is why Jung said, “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”[ix] If we want Bush and his supporters to see their own darkness, we have to model this realization for them and see and embrace the darkness within ourselves, of which they are a reflection.
It is “mortifying” to see our own potential for self-deception, and, even worse, for evil. We are at a “crisis” point in history, which, medically speaking, is the climax of an illness. Will we all become suicide bombers as we unconsciously collaborate in destroying the planet, or will we see through our projections and wake up?
To quote Jung, “We are threatened with universal genocide if we cannot work out the way of salvation by a symbolic death.”[x] And what is this “symbolic death” of which Jung speaks but to see through our fantasy illusions and withdraw our projections from the outside world. When we see through and withdraw our projections, it is as though a part of us that was living in illusion dies; we literally become dis-illusioned and dis-enchanted. The ego resists the “dis-spelling” of our illusions, as it demands that we change, which the ego equates with death. This shattering of our projections, however, has a positive aspect, as it is simultaneously our liberation from the spell of delusion into a deeper, more expansive level of awakening.
Withdrawing our shadow projections involves recognizing the “other” in ourselves, the polar opposite of who we consciously imagine ourselves to be. Jung commented:
“If the projected content is to be healed, it must return into the psyche of the individual, where it had its unconscious beginnings. He must celebrate a Last Supper with himself, and eat his own flesh and drink his own blood; which means that he must recognize and accept the other in himself…. [xi] [Emphasis added]
Jung’s symbolic death entails recognizing and accepting “the other in himself,” the dark side of the self, the shadow. This is to recognize that the evil we see “out there” in the world is a reflection of the evil inside of ourselves. The best way for us to deal with the darkness Bush and his supporters have fallen under is to shed light on our own darkness. We usually think of illumination as seeing the light, but as Jung reminds us, speaking about the shadow, “The sight of its darkness is itself an illumination, a widening of consciousness through integration of the hitherto unconscious components of the personality.”[xii] Jung then goes on to say, “But when there is a light in the darkness which comprehends the darkness, darkness no longer prevails.”[xiii] When we see our own darkness, we can then truly be a light that illumines the darkness in the world.
A pioneer in the field of spiritual emergence, Paul Levy is a healer in private practice, assisting others who are also awakening to the dreamlike nature of reality. Paul is also a visionary artist and a spiritually-informed political activist. He is the author of The Madness of George Bush: A Reflection of Our Collective Psychosis,which is available on his website www.awakeninthedream.com. (See the first chapter, The Madness of George W. Bush: A Reflection of our Collective Psychosis). Please feel free to pass this article along to a friend if you feel so inspired. You can contact Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org; he looks forward to your reflections. © Copyright 2010
[i] Jung, Psychology and Religion: East and West, CW 11, par. 520.
[ii] Jung, Mysterium Coniunctionis, CW 14, par. 342.
[iii] Jung, The Symbolic Life, CW 18, par. 1358.
[iv] Jung, Civilization in Transition, CW 10, par. 465.
[v] Ibid., par. 416.
[vi] Ibid., par. 440.
[vii] Jung, Psychology and Alchemy, CW 12, par. 36.
[viii] Jung, Mysterium Coniunctionis, CW 14, par. 345.
[ix] Jung, Alchemical Studies, CW 13, par. 335.
[x] Jung, The Symbolic Life, CW 18, par. 1661. [xi] Jung, Mysterium Coniunctionis, CW 14, par. 512.
[xii] Jung, Mysterium Coniunctionis, CW 14, par. 342.
[xiii] Ibid., par. 345.