February 02, 2020

The Donald Archetype (part 2)

The Donald Archetype (Part 2)

It should be obvious that one person’s hero is another person’s villain. Was Elliot Ness the hero or the villain in his takedown of Al Capone? It depends if you were a teetotaler in the suburbs of Chicago or a drunk in a Chicago speakeasy. Ness and Capone were each a hero and a villain.

And, so it is with The Donald. To The Lost Generation of the hinterland, the forgotten Middle Americans of yesteryear, it is no surprise that the yellow coiffed billionaire in the blue business suit is King Arthur, Robin Hood, Don Quixote, James Bond, Joan of Arc, Beowulf, and General McArthur, all rolled up into one persona. On the other hand, The Donald is a villain and the enemy to the small coterie of the privileged elite who inhabit the halls of Congress, the upper echelons of executive privilege, the news desks of the Newspeak media, the Hollywood snobs, and the family dynasties of political succession, all of whom cling to their claim of their Dieu et Mon Droit.

The Donald is an archetype, a mythological figure, a creature who is larger than life itself. The Donald is the entire Greek pantheon rolled up into one persona. He manifests the assets and the quirks of all the gods. He channels the power of Zeus, likewise the wisdom and courage of Athena. He is Ares the god of war, Aphrodite the inspiration of beauty, and Hades the ruler of the underworld. He emits the erotic love of Eros, yet emanates the smell and earthiness of Pan. His behavior exhibits the complexities and contradictions of Apollo, the prophetic deity of medicine and healing, yet who could bring ill-health and deadly plague.

The Donald, as the Greek pantheon itself, is a metaphor for a pragmatic view of life, one which values art, beauty, and the power of the individual. He is a counterpoint to a minority yet powerful view, which values political correctness, diversity, and the power of the collective.

To the Greeks one of the most important moral concepts was a fear of committing hubris, that is, excessive pride or self-confidence. Although pride and vanity were not considered sins themselves, the Greeks emphasized moderation. Pride was not evil until it became all-consuming or hurtful to others. In Greek tragedy, hubris was excessive pride in defiance of the gods which led to nemesis, the inescapable agent of someone’s downfall.

The archetypes that arise from the depths of the human psyche can be scary to behold and even challenging to embrace. They seem “otherworldly” and out of the reach to us common folks. The human response to primordial archetypes, in the case of the Hero, can be adulated, emulate, and even consecrate. Adulation can lead to imitation; emulation can lead to transformation, and consecration can lead to personal integration. In the case of the Villain, our response can be to denounce, deny, or destroy.  The results can be these: denouncing the devil will not make it go away; denial of evil does not lessen its power; any attempt to destroy an archetypical monster will embed it even deeper into our subconscious.

As individuals, we channel the Hero and the Villain. As individuals, we do not create the hero. However, as the collective, we ascribe hero status to those who arise to take up the sword to fill the hero’s role. Likewise, we do not create the devil. Our collective conscious ascribes evilness to those from the underworld, who threaten our customs, mores, and very existence.

In summary, The Donald is the manifestation of the Hero, not because we crowned him so. Rather he is the hero because a significant segment of the citizenry acknowledges his heroic persona and relates to his heroic qualities.

The 2020 version of the morality play unfolding on the campaign stage is unfinished and not rehearsed. The denouement in its final act, as important as it is to the future of a nation, is cloaked beneath a shadow of suspenseful apprehension.

“We have met The Donald and he is us.”