DavidM, writing over at Integral Permaculture, was quick on the draw this morning with an assessment of the results of the election (“Chaos, Havoc, and The American Abyss“), which was less of an election than a conjuration of demons (as I noted in my comment to David’s post there).
And as I noted there also, America has now not so much a president as a conjurer — a shaman king — who summoned the demons of the dusky deeps to aid his bid for power — demons of unreason, demons of untruth, demons of rage and resentment, demons of paranoia in a true pandaemonium. Trump never articulated policies in any rational way because they were only conjurations, just as much as he proposes to conjure “jobs, jobs, jobs” and resurrected national glory out of thin air in the new Magic Kingdom.
It remains to be seen whether America’s democratic institutions are resilient enough, and effective enough, to contain Trump’s megalomania — in fact, whether democratic institutions anywhere are secure these days. It will be a real test of their effectiveness in moderating the hubris of power. I’m not optimistic on that score.
It’s tempting to say that nothing good can come of this whatsoever. (Perhaps I terminated the old Dark Age Blog too soon?). The dreadful “Consequential”, as Jean Gebser once described it, seems to have arrived. But also with this comes the spiritual challenge of transcending it. It is quite literally, as Tom Paine also once put it in his own time, “a time to try men’s souls”, and now women’s too (and perhaps especially so), and many souls will be found wanting.
As I noted earlier, we are all today trapped between the Dreadful and the Dreary — the ears of the wolf dilemma — and can neither go backwards nor forwards. It may well be that Trump’s megalomania and nihilism, which fulfills a logic begun with Thatcher’s “there is no such thing as society”, may well serve some useful and ecological purpose of which Trump himself is ignorant. It may well prove that the new consciousness — the aperspectival-arational — required just this challenge, just this degree of resistance represented by Trump, to realise itself, for “where the peril is greatest, there lies the saving power also” (Hölderlin) and “the cure for the disease is in the disease” (Rumi).
Ironic reversal, or enantiodromia, remember, cuts both ways, for which reason the tongue of Christ in the Book of Revelation is depicted as a two-edged sword, not forked like the serpent’s. There is great truth in that symbolism of the tongue.