[An inflated consciousness] is incapable of learning from the past, incapable of understanding contemporary events, and incapable of drawing right conclusions about the future. It is hypnotized by itself and therefore cannot be argued with. It inevitably dooms itself to calamities that must strike it [and others within its sphere of influence] dead.
~C. G. Jung
George W. Bush is suffering from a peculiar but not that uncommon form of madness in which a pathological part of his psyche has co-opted all of the healthy parts into its service. Speaking about such a pathological condition, Jung commented that “…an unknown ‘something’ has taken possession of a smaller or greater portion of the psyche and asserts its hateful and harmful existence undeterred by all our insight, reason, and energy, thereby proclaiming the power of the unconscious over the conscious mind, the sovereign power of possession.”
Bush has been taken over by an unconscious complex of the collective unconscious. We speak of a mother complex, or a father complex, but Bush has what we could call a savior complex. Jung said, “The savior complex is an archetypal image of the collective unconscious, and it quite naturally becomes activated in an epoch so full of trouble and disorientation as ours.” The archetypal figure of savior is literally dreamed up into incarnation by the field to be both a compensation for and an expression of the disorientation and dissociation in the field. Being a reflection of the greater underlying unified field, this figure will embody the unconsciousness of the time. Because of the unconsciousness in the field, the person playing the archetypal role of savior will reflect this unconsciousness and become inflated, blown up out of human proportion by the power of the archetype. He will then, of necessity, be compelled to act out his hubris in a way that is destructive for all who are under his dominion.
Inflated by the power of the underlying archetype, Bush is suffering from delusions of grandeur, and has become megalomaniacal. He is unconsciously identified with the archetype of the Messiah. Bush told an Amish group in 2004 that “God speaks through me.” Bush imagines that God actually speaks to him as well; in 2003 he told Palestinian ministers that God told him to invade Iraq. Jung commented, “One should listen to the inner voice attentively, intelligently and critically, (Probate spiritus!) [test the spirits], because the voice one hears is the influxus divinus consisting, as the Acts of John aptly state, of “right” and “left” streams, i.e., of opposites. They have to be clearly separated so that their positive and negative aspects become visible.” John 4:1 says, “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits whether they are of God.” Just because one hears an inner voice doesn’t necessarily mean it is the voice of God. Listened to uncritically, we could just as easily be seduced by the Devil.
Bush has become inflated with an archetype of the collective unconscious, which is an expression of madness. He has become identified with one side, the light, of an inherently two-sided polarity, and projects out the other, dark side, which he then tries to destroy. By shadow projecting in this manner, Bush has become possessed by the very evil he is projecting outside of himself. This is to fall under the spell of the Devil, who is rightly called “the deceiver.”
A clearer case of madness is hard to imagine. Jung describes such a situation by saying it is an “…overwhelming manifestation of the “blond beast” [of prey, a figure popularized by Nietzsche], which seizes the unsuspecting soul with nameless shudderings. The seizure transforms him into a hero or godlike being, a superhuman entity. He rightly feels himself “six thousand feet beyond good and evil.” Because of his inflation, Bush literally feels himself above human morality, as he is under the self-generating delusion that he is the supreme moral arbiter, not realizing in the slightest that he has fallen into his unconscious, whose dark side he is acting out. Because of his pathological condition, he is the last person who should be the judge of morality, the very last person on earth choosing justices for the Supreme Court.
Jung continued by saying, “The psychological observer knows this state of ‘identification with the shadow,’ a phenomenon which occurs with great regularity at such moments of collision with the unconscious.” Paradoxically, by dissociating and projecting out our shadow, we become unconsciously identified with it, possessed by it, and unconsciously act it out. Speaking about becoming taken over by a complex of the collective unconscious, Jung elaborates by saying, “As a rule there is a marked unconsciousness of any complexes, and this naturally guarantees them all the more freedom of action. In such cases their powers of assimilation become especially pronounced, since unconsciousness helps the complex to assimilate even the ego, the result being a momentary and unconscious alteration of personality known as identification with the complex. In the Middle Ages it went by another name: it was called possession.”
Because of his complete unconsciousness, Bush has unwittingly allowed himself to become an instrument for evil, the dark half of the Self, to give shape and form to itself. Speaking about what the devil symbolizes psychologically, Jung said, “The devil is a variant of the “shadow” archetype, i.e., of the dangerous aspect of the unrecognized dark half of the personality.” Bush has become unconsciously taken over by the shadow side of the savior archetype, which is to become possessed by the very thing from which people need to be saved.
Becoming inflated and identifying with an archetype of the collective unconscious is to step outside ordinary human boundaries, a state in which genuine humility is impossible. Jung said, “The potentialities of the archetype, for good and evil alike, transcend our human capacities many times, and a man can appropriate its power only by identifying with the daemon, by letting himself be possessed by it, thus forfeiting his own humanity.” Any mental health professional would recognize that Bush’s inflation is an expression of his unconscious identification with (as compared to conscious realization of) God, which is an unequivocal form of madness.
Lacking self-reflection, Bush is blissfully unaware of the perverse nature of his situation, which itself is an expression of the extent of depravity he has fallen into. Speaking of a person who has fallen into such a pathological state, Jung said “…they avoid self-criticism to an amazing degree, preach to others, and know nothing of themselves. They are happy to possess no self-knowledge, because then nothing disturbs the rosy glow of illusions.”
By being inflated, Bush is unconsciously accessing and unleashing the power inherent in the archetypeÑüthis is why he has such an enchanting power over his followers. By identifying with the archetype, the archetype acts as an amplifier, enhancing beyond measure Bush’s hypnotic power over his followers. Because Bush is so taken over by the unconscious, he has a compelling and entrancing effect on others’ unconscious. Only one who is seized by an archetype has a gripping effect on others. To quote Jung, “It is a psychological fact that an archetype can seize hold of the ego and even compel it to act as itÑüthe archetypeÑüwills. A man can then take on archetypal dimensions and exercise corresponding effects.” By being so seized by an archetype of the collective unconscious, Bush becomes an agent that has a very powerful effect on the field around him. He becomes a portal through which an underlying psychic epidemic which non-locally pervades the field that I am calling “malignant egophrenia” (see my book The Madness of George W. Bush: A Reflection of Our Collective Psychosis, available on my website www.awakeninthedream.com) feeds, replicates, and actualizes itself in full-bodied form, in and over time.
When we become unconsciously gripped by an archetype, we become pawns in the hand of a deeper power. Succumbing to the compulsive adrenaline rush of the “will to power” inherent in the shadow, Bush is, as Jung said in describing Hitler, “…like a man living in his own biography.” Bush has become arrogant and full of himself, a legend in his own mind, someone who feels he is not bound by law, and believes himself entitled to get away with murder. Speaking about being unconsciously taken over by an archetype, Jung commented, “Here we see the characteristic effect of the archetype: it seizes hold of the psyche with a kind of primeval force and compels it to transgress the bounds of humanity.” When we are gripped by an archetype and forced to unconsciously act out its effects destructively, we are acting out the dark side of this greater power. Etymologically, the word “transgress” is related to the word “evil.”
The world literally shape-shifts around someone who is inflated and blown up with an archetype, as this inner state of possession is able to synchronistically express itself through the medium of the outside world. To quote Jung, “…archetypes are not found exclusively in the psychic sphere, but can occur just as much in circumstances that are not psychic (equivalence of an outward physical process with a psychic one).” [Emphasis in original] When we become inflated by an archetype, there is a synchronistic correlation between the inner experience of being identified with the archetype and outer events. The inner state of being possessed by the archetype expresses itself by arranging external events so as to give shape and form to itself. A person inflated by an archetype, such as Bush, literally becomes the channel through which transpersonal, mythic forces become materialized into our third-dimension, which just reinforces his inflation in a diabolical feedback loop.
By identifying with the archetype, Bush becomes seized by the archetype’s irresistible field of force and unwittingly becomes the agent who does the archetype’s bidding. By being so taken over by an impersonal force, Bush has become a “magnet” which torques the field around him so as to insatiably feed his own pathology, while simultaneously wreaking havoc on the field.
Taken over by the archetype’s magnetic power, Bush achieves a certain magnetism, which polarizes the field around it. Like a magnet, archetypes are bi-polar, having a negative and a positive aspect. On the one hand, the power of the archetype coming through Bush attracts people to support him in his delusion who are suggestible to the overwhelming unconscious power inherent in the archetype. In a co-dependent relationship, Bush’s followers feed his identification with the archetype, which simultaneously nourishes their own bewitchment, in a perverse, self-perpetuating feedback loop which develops an autonomous life of its own.
At the same time, Bush’s identification with the archetype repels other people, who react against the one-sidedness and perversity of his inflation. By being so unconsciously identified with the archetype, Bush will literally attract to himself, like a lightning rod attracts lightning, other people’s negative, shadow projections. These people will strongly condemn Bush, and see him as being evil. And yet, people who react against Bush in this way are unwittingly feeding the polarization in the field, perpetuating the very diabolical energy they are reacting against.
If we concretize Bush as being evil, we are projecting our own shadow onto him and are then guilty of the very evil of which we are accusing Bush. Interestingly, another inner meaning of the word Devil is “the accuser.” If we are accusing Bush of being evil, we are guilty of the very evil of which we are accusing Bush. Bush is merely an ignorant human being who, due to his unrestrained greed, desire, and lust for power is unwittingly allowing himself to be used as an instrument of evil. Evil itself is a power, or principality that transcends the merely human dimension, as it is archetypal in nature and thereby is a content belonging to the collective unconscious. Bush is simply a deluded human being who is dangerous because of his position of power, which allows him to act out his pathological process on the world stage. We do not want to make the mistake of attributing evilÑüan archetypal content of the collective unconsciousÑüto Bush as a person.
Becoming possessed by an archetype of the collective unconscious is an expression of not only forfeiting our humanity, but of abdicating our personal responsibility as well. A true Faustian pact with the Devil, we discover too late that what we have lost in the bargain is our soul. As in any such bargain, we are ultimately responsible and accountable for our choices. Identifying with the archetype of the savior is a compensation for a deep inferiority, fear, and weakness. We become absorbed into the archetype due to our inability and unwillingness to deal with the darker part of ourselves that needs saving.
Though describing Hitler, Jung just as easily could have been describing Bush when he said that he had a “…conceit that bordered on madness, a very mediocre intelligence combined with the hysteric’s cunning and the power fantasies of an adolescent.” Bush is acting out the adolescent fantasies of a war of good versus evil with our living sons and daughters as his toy soldiers. Being inflated, Bush doesn’t relate to other human beings as being autonomous or independent, but as pawns to serve his own narcissistic blindness and masturbatory fantasies.
Jung pointed out that “Inflation magnifies the blind spot of the eye…. A clear symptom of this is our growing disinclination to take note of the reactions of the environment and pay heed to them.” When we are inflated, we don’t accept any reflection or feedback from the outer universe that contradicts our puffed up image of ourselves. Instead of being open, receptive, and learning from the outer world, we continually interpret everything to support our delusory self-image. When we become inflated, we become closed to any information or in-forming influence from the outside world, which is a form of psychic blindness. Instead of being in genuine relationship to the world, a person who is inflated relates to the world through their own narcissistically self-serving, grandiose self-image.
Speaking about madness, Jung said that it “…consists essentially in the fact that the unconscious in large measure ousts and supplants the function of the conscious mind. The unconscious usurps the reality function and substitutes its own reality.” Jung continued that this resulted in “…senseless, unshakable judgments upheld in the face of reality [for example, Bush saying, ‘the war in Iraq is going well,’ despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary].” Being caught up in inflation is like being sucked up by a cyclone, as there is literally no getting through to the person who is inflated, who has been taken over and lifted off the ground by a more powerful energy. Bush and his supporters feed into and off of and support each others’ unconscious madness so as to conjure up an impenetrable field around them that resists consciousness at all costs. It is only when their worldÑüwhich in this case is our world, tooÑüself-destructs that the universe forces them out of their psychosis.
Just as the unconscious always compensates a one-sidedness, inflation inevitably results in all of the air (life, breath, spirit) being taken out of the person who is inflated. Inflation is ultimately self-destructive and always results in catastrophe. Talking about inflation, Jung said that it “…can be damped down only by the most terrible catastrophe to civilization, another deluge let loose by the gods upon inhospitable humanity.” The fact that our government, led by an inflated madman, is insanely and endlessly investing in and feeding the industry of creating weapons of mass destruction is an extremely dangerous situation for all of us. To quote Jung, “Let man but accumulate sufficient engines of destruction and the devil within him will soon be unable to resist putting them to their fated use. It is well known that fire-arms go off of themselves if only enough of them are together.”
Bush has let the spirit out of the bottle which will undoubtedly destroy him. Being possessed by the unconscious is a very dangerous situation, particularly when the person so taken over is in a position of power where he can act out as well as activate a virulent madness on the world stage. Bush’s madness affects all those under his sphere of influence, which in this case is the entire planet. Jung commented, “It is abundantly clear that such an abaissement du niveau mental [lowering of the mental level], i.e., the overpowering of the ego by unconscious contents and the consequent identification with a preconscious [as compared to conscious] wholeness, possesses a prodigious psychic virulence, or power of contagion, and is capable of the most disastrous results.” When such a “lowering of the mental level” happens collectively, a psychic epidemic becomes activated in the field. The (collective) unconscious goes from being in the background and comes actively to the foreground, where it makes itself known by (destructively) giving shape and form to world events. It is merely a question of mitigating the damage of this virulent psychic epidemic for the rest of us.
Seen as a dreaming process, we are all complicit in dreaming up Bush to pick up the archetypal role of savior. Our doing this is clearly a reflection of the part of ourselves which is disempowered and is not in touch with the savior within ourselves. To be in touch with the savior within ourselves is to be in touch with the wholeness of our true nature, which is to be truly saved and redeemed. To the extent that any of us get in touch with the part of ourselves that is a genuine redeemer and leader, we literally are dis-investing energy from the archetypal role of leader being dreamed up outside of ourselves in a pathological way. When we consciously and collectively access the part of ourselves that is a leader by our very nature, we become truly empowered. Being in touch with our God-given power engenders a situation in which the savior archetype is consciously distributed throughout the field, rather than being localized and concentrated in a single figure, which is a set-up for abuse.
The only way to change the collective nightmare we are sharing is through inner transformation in the individual, which collectively gets mobilized on the world stage so that we can effect genuine change. As each of us wakes up, we discover that we can reciprocally empower each other so that we can consciously activate the archetypal figure of the savior in the collective unconscious itself. Mediating, humanizing and incarnating this archetypal figure consciously throughout the field, we connect in lucidity, stepping into being agents of light who collectively dis-spell the darkness in the field.
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 email@example.com; he looks forward to your reflections. © Copyright 2010