A little while ago I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen for awhile. He asked me what I had been up to. I told him that I was writing a book about the collective psychosis that was wreaking havoc on our planet. He asked me what made me think there was a collective psychosis going on. His question left me speechless, literally not knowing what to say. What made him think that there wasn’t a collective psychosis, I wondered. You could look in any direction and find endless examples which proved that our species has gone out of our minds. There was so much overwhelming evidence for the collective psychosis that I didn’t even know where to start. To see our collective madness, all we have to do is simply look at what we’re doing to each other, not to mention the very planet we depend upon for our very survival. We seem to have gone so crazy that many people haven’t even noticed, as our madness has become normalized, which is just further proof of our collective psychosis.
Where is the voice of the psychiatric establishment in pointing out the obvious situation: not only that our leader is mad, but that Bush’s madness is a reflection of the fact that we, as a species, have fallen into a collective psychosis? In a personal conversation I had with the late Harvard psychiatrist John Mack about exactly this point, he expressed his opinion that the psychiatric community doesn’t see it as their job to deal with collective pathological situations such as we are in. Amazingly, Mack was pointing to the fact that the psychiatric community doesn’t see it as their responsibility to track collective psychic epidemics.
On the one hand, there is psychiatrist Justin Frank, author of the fine book Bush on the Couch. Dr. Frank has my utmost respect for his incisive psychoanalytic study of Bush, pointing out Bush’s pathological condition in a lucid and indisputable manner. Frank’s analysis is extremely important and very brilliant, illumining Bush’s pathology in relationship to the dysfunctional family system of which he is a part. Frank points out, both in Bush’s family as well as writ large on the world stage in the form of the media and his supporters, the undeniable signs of the “enabling” behavior typically seen in the disease of family alcoholism.
Frank’s work has reached a very important edge, however, and is calling to be unfolded further. By viewing Bush in relationship to his family system, Frank reaches the limits of an understanding based solely on family dynamics. Like a traditional psychoanalyst, Frank considers Bush as a “separate self” existing apart from the greater unified and unifying field, that is to say the entire universe, of which he is a part. And yet, at the same time that Bush exists as a separate self who is autonomous and independent from the world at large, he is interdependently embedded in and an expression of the universe.
As long as psychoanalysis contemplates Bush as solely a “separate self,” however, it is under a form of illusion, as we don’t exist in isolation from each other, but rather, in relation to each other. Though Frank’s analysis of Bush in his identity as a discrete, independently-existing person has tremendous value, analogous to how the mechanical models of classical physics have great general utility in understanding the workings of our world, any analysis of an object or person isolated from the universe of which they are an interconnected part is of necessity incomplete. As quantum physics points out, we simply do not exist, in the ultimate sense, as isolated entities who are separate from each other or our environment. Having reached the edge of psychoanalysis, and limited by its worldview, it is not within the scope of Frank’s analysis to address the inherent psycho-spiritual condition that pervades the underlying field, both in our country and our world at large, of which Bush is merely a symbolic expression. I imagine that Frank himself would be the first to admit this, and would enthusiastically encourage others to further unfold and place his findings in a larger psycho-spiritual context.
Frank points out the unconscious collusion in the silence and collective denial towards Bush’s behavior that pervades the field. Constrained by the traditional discipline that he so faithfully represents, however, it is not within Frank’s purview to diagnose our species as a whole as being in the midst of a psychic epidemic.
Frank’s analysis is the pinnacle of psychoanalysis, beautifully illumining Bush’s pathology on the “personal” level. Because of the fact that Frank is viewing Bush as an isolated person distinct and separate from the world around him, he doesn’t address the deeper level of the unifying field in which we’re all interconnected and interdependent. Ultimately, we are not able to contemplate Bush’s madness without looking in the mirror. Bush’s madness is truly our own.
Frank’s analysis of Bush’s “personal” pathology inspires and places a demand on us to catapult off of his insights, like a springboard, into the higher-order of the “transpersonal” (beyond the personal) dimension. Adding a transpersonal viewpoint, which recognizes that we are fundamentally and ultimately interconnected parts of the whole, actually complements and completes Frank’s analysis of Bush’s “personal” psychology. Both of these perspectives, the personal and the transpersonal, are incomplete by themselves. When neither of these perspectives are marginalized, but are simultaneously viewed together as both being true, they synergistically cross-pollinate and illumine each other. The personal and transpersonal interpenetrate each other so fully that they are not two separate perspectives joined together, but are two aspects of a deeper unified field which contains and unifies them.
Seen transpersonally, the figure of Bush is a symbol which re-presents and reveals the collective psychosis that we have all fallen into. The figure of Bush is a portal which simultaneously feeds and is an expression of the collective madness that is in everyone. Bush is merely a symptom, an embodied reflection of a deeper underlying pathology that exists in the collective unconscious of humanity which is giving shape to and in-forming world events. Seen transpersonally, the figure of Bush is revealing something to us about ourselves.
We are all complicit in the madness that is playing out in our world. Shedding light on our shared responsibility for the deeper underlying psychological roots of collective world events helps us to become truly empowered agents of change in our world who can truly make a difference.
If the psychiatric establishment doesn’t see it as their job to illumine the fact that we are in the midst of a collective psychosis that is potentially destroying our species, the question then arises: whose job is it? Cultural anthropologists? Sociologists? Where is the voice of sanity who is pointing out the collective madness that our species has fallen into? Who are the people who study mass psychological events? What is playing out in the world has its origins in the unconscious psyche of humanity. Whose job is it to map, articulate and shed light on the psychic origins of collective world events?
A year or so ago I received an email from an irate Jungian analyst who was very critical of my work. She expressed her outrage by saying “How dare I write about Jung if I’m not a trained and certified Jungian analyst!” It was her non-negotiable opinion that it was simply “wrong” that I should be writing an analysis of the deeper, underlying psychological roots of world events if I wasn’t a professionally authorized “psychologist.” I never wrote her back because I felt there was no space for dialogue with her. Now I know what I would say to her: I wouldn’t write about Jung’s brilliant insights that illumine and heal the pathological aspects of our current world situation if the people who’s job it is to write about such things, such as herself, would simply do their job. If people such as psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, and the mental health community as a whole would shed sufficient light on the collective psychosis that is potentially destroying our species, I would be happy to do other, much more fun-filled activities.
As people who recognize the insane nature of our situation, which is to be sane in a world gone mad, it is our job to come to terms and deal with the collective psychosis that is wreaking havoc on our planet. It is our job, our calling, our vocation to deal with the indisputable fact that we are being ruled by people who have fallen into a state of collective madness. It is our responsibility to deal with the fact that everyone who supports Bush in his madness—his administration, the corporate, congressional, judicial, military industrial complex, the media, the voters that allegedly put him into office, and ourselves as well if we are doing nothing about our situation—have all fallen prey to a psychic epidemic that threatens the entire planet. If we continue to insist on being under-employed by not stepping into our power and creatively speaking our true voice to the abuse of power, we have no one to blame but ourselves.
The evil that is being enacted on our planet could only happen because of a sufficient number of people who are passively standing on the sideline and doing nothing about it. Not doing anything about the evil we see being acted out in the world is to ourselves become an unwitting instrument of evil, as our in-action allows, enables, and feeds the further propagation of evil in the field. Evil is truly calling us to pick up an empowered role—whatever that is—and “act,” as if we are actors in a play or characters in a dream. Recognizing our responsibility for the collective situation we find ourselves in, we access our ability to respond creatively in the world and act-ively do something about it.
Something is being revealed to us about ourselves by the fact that we are being ruled by people who are mad. Imagine, what would we do if we truly recognized that our government is being run by people who have collectively gone mad? What would we do if we realized that the leader of the most powerful nation on the planet, the person with his finger on the button, is a genuine psychopath? This is not a make believe question—how would we respond if enough of us not only recognized that our leaders were truly insane, but that we urgently needed to do something about it? What do we imagine we would do? This is a very relevant question, as this is the true nature of our current situation.
Do we go belly-up, imagining that there is nothing that we could possibly do about our insane situation? Do we imagine ourselves collapsing into impotence, being totally dis-empowered, unable to do anything about being ruled by a bunch of psychopaths? Or do we imagine that enough of us, realizing the gravitas of our situation, connect with each other and access our collective genius so that we can truly make a positive change in the world? The question is: Will the darkness that is manifesting in our world destroy our species or wake us up to our true nature? The choice, and responsibility, is truly ours.
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