Dear members of the depth psychology community, 

Like many of you, I was stunned by the outcome of the U.S. Presidential election yesterday, November 8, and have spent the day mourning for so many things that feel like they have been lost. As a woman, I am keenly aware that the moment for electing our first woman president has evaporated, but on a much deeper level, I am also profoundly distressed by the election of someone who is so clearly disrepectful of women and lacks compassion and understanding for so many who are marginalized, including other minorities, other species, and planet itself. I wonder how all these deep feelings, including anger, are going to be manifest in coming weeks, months, and years.

Like some of you, also, I seem to bounce between feeling numb and being distraught, even questioning on some level what role I play in all of this, and whether the calling I feel to make depth psychology more accessible in the world actually does a bit of good on some many levels. And yet, I know I must have hope: hope for our future, for our young people and generations to come; for everyone who is suffering and will continue to suffer in the face of a political system that favors certain groups over others. 

We live in a world that is as challenged as it has ever been, and yet I maintain a powerful faith in the patterns at work in a world where change is the only constant. I know there is something bigger at work. I am certain I see only a narrow slice of what's at work. I believe in the idea that nature is constantly reaching out to us to pull us back from the brink of extinction (an idea I first encountered in Jerome Bernstein's groundbreaking work, Living in the Borderland.) Some part of me wonders if Donald Trump had to be elected because it will serve as a catalyst to something new; because people will be more innovative in creating change, be inspired to action in a different way, collaborate together with those they may not have engaged with before.

Ten years ago I experienced a profound awakening of my own—so powerful it sent me into what Stan Grof aptly terms "spiritual emergency"—basically, when something spiritual happens that sends one spiraling into emergency. Somehow, at that time, I believe I managed to tap into something bigger than me, a pattern at work in which I play a part and which is playing out not only for the good of each of us individually, but for us as a collective, a species which is resilient, conscious, and able to evolve and learn and love one another. What I experienced then was a taste of what we truly are as divine souls, and the stunning realization that as earthly beings caught up in human bodies and conditioned by culture outside our control, we have truly "settled" for something we can't begin to grasp. Each of us is different, and perceives our lives on earth in different ways, and we each must find our way to carry the torch for new beginnings, for hope in humanity, for belief that we can truly evolve as a species. I think being willing to participate in community is one of the ways these things can manifest. I hope you believe that too.

If anyone feels moved to share your own thoughts and feelings about all of this, please feel free to respond below. If you have criticisms or comments on political parties or policies, maybe your forum is elsewhere. If you wish to provide a depth psychological response or lens, or simply an authentic contribution (it could even be in the form of art or poetry), please respond below, and let us each hold one another in love, compassion, and a willingness to hold the tension as much as we possibly can.

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  • Given what is unfolding elsewhere I think this has been a wonderfully civilised and forward looking discussion - even though many of us have strong feelings about the topic, and are genuinely concerned about the future 'out there' and the combination of economic, cultural, historical and, yes, psychological forces that have led to the current situation. The line between depth psychology - which aims to assist individuals - and social psychology - which aims to understand and treat the sicknesses of entire societies - is never so in danger of being blurred as when political sentiments are heightened, as they are at present. It can look like a group cathartic primal scream/Groffian session at times - disturbing for those unsure what's going on - especially when as many have said, there's a fair bit of mutual projecting, and maybe not a lot of healing going on in the public domain! The difficulties of processing such group shadow stuff, however, should not deter depth psychologists from commenting, And I agree with Bonnie that we do need to use the tools of the depth psychologist to encourage the public to take their discussion to deeper, healing levels.

    I think the first chapter of Jung's 'The Undiscovered Self' - ie The Plight of the Self in Modern Society - is very apt reading right now, re how to attain to that balance between understanding and responding to the impact of the social on the self AND understanding how our experience of self influences the society and world we have built collectively and are building for our children etc. - quite a few contributors seem to be highlighting this or circling it. One of Jung's sentences in particular resonates for me right now: 'The mass crushes out the insight and reflection that are still possible with the individual, and this necessarily leads to doctrinaire and authoritarian tyranny if ever the constitutional State should succumb to a fit of weakness.' I've been pondering that sentence, that chapter, indeed that entire book this morning - and difficult as it is we need to keep the channels open between these two relational realms - and be advocates for balance between them, come what may, as we move forward. Best wishes to all contributors and to those who have looked on without feeling the need to contribute. Ian

  • thank you Pamela...we await for our nations to change and do...I concur this is a sensitive, keen and appreciate the individual and moderation contributions from Bonnie...Peace + Love Linda

  • no need to apologize to me personally, Franco, and thanks anyways for I do believe your reply addressed all.  Yes, I did know about the WW1 time-out...when the enemies of each other gathered together to play.

    Regarding your choice for using a satirical approach that helps you hold up... manifesting human vices and follies... irony to light...either censure, scorn, ridicule [trenchant wit]... typically used to expose and/or discredit vice or folly...this is not a writing talent nor way for me.  I'm glad it helps you...there is a place [forum] for Saturday Night Live, however, we watch it knowing beforehand... it is satire.  

    People are always telling me [still to this day] that I am so not recognize when someone is joking, so I take them seriously as I believe they are telling me their truth and when they follow with "i'm joking" and I ask why are they joking around with me...there is silence.

    I am also reminded of rare upsurges of "dark humour" [twice in my 25 years ICU nursing career], when travesty befell upon an already tragic circumstances...that was unbearable and someone said something satirical...that actually helped at a guttural level...shadow has survival value...after all we are simply human animals in our hind brain.

    The other form of satirical form I was exposed to... was when a professor asked us and showed us a session where the therapist used "provocative" therapy [involving using a chain saw metaphor] and he asked us...if push came to shove... and a client's life was on the line...could we use provocative therapy.  The case was an extreme example and I do know I would have not been able to be that brave and instead of being provocative with a client, I would have chosen to call in the troops for help.

    Anyways...thanks for the exchange.  More peace + love back to you...

  • Just a gentle reminder to everyone: This thread was opened for people to express a depth perspective, which includes holding (in the Jungian sense--not rushing to judgment or weighing in on partisan politics). I would remind everyone that if you want to express feelings, support, compassion, depth perspective, or genuine non-judgmental depth or symbolic analysis, this is a good place to do it. If you can't resist posting something outside of that focus her in a depth psychology oriented forum, perhaps ask yourself why and please consider posting it on a different site more conducive to your perspective or offering. Thank you.

    • Amen.  This is what I find to be a sensitive and keen forum moderation.


      To simplify my first post, it helped me tremendously to reread Jung’s reflections on the great war.   I needed to withdraw my identification with the outer conflict/division/hysteria and bring it into myself.  My hysteria, my insoluble conflict, my head-breaking-aching holding of the tensions.  This was (and still is) one of the most difficult projection withdraws ever.  To recollect within myself in these times seems impossible.  Yet, Jung has said, “…something bloody and dreadful lay before us. I saw the foot of a giant that crushed a whole city: How could I interpret this sign otherwise?  I saw that the way to self-sacrifice began here. They will all become terribly enraptured by these tremendous experiences, and in their blindness will want to understand them as outer events. It is an inner happening; that is the way to the perfection of the mystery of Christ, so that the peoples learn self-sacrifice.  May the frightfulness become so great that it can turn men's eyes inward, so that their will no longer seeks the self in others but in themselves.”


      And still, I attempt to have mercy on myself for my blindness, for the tendency to get hooked into trying to understand the outer event.  It is so hard and I feel I fail every hour.    But indeed I see some change in 100 years or even 10 years in terms of the individual and the collective, if only by a mille degree -- the sacrificing of a long-held denial.


      “In December I9I6, in his preface to The Psychology of the Unconscious Processess,  Jung wrote: "The psychological processes, which accompany the present war, above all the incredible brutalization of public opinion, the mutual slanderings, the unprecedented fury of destruction, the monstrous flood of lies, and man's incapacity to call a halt to the bloody demon—are suited like nothing else to powerfully push in front of the eyes of thinking men the problem of the restlessly slumbering chaotic unconscious under the ordered world of consciousness. This war has pitilessly revealed to civilized man that he is still a barbarian ... But the psychology of the individual corresponds to the psychology of the nation. What the nation does is done also by each individual, and so long as the individual does it, the nation also does it. Only the change in the attitude of the individual is the beginning of the change in the psychology of the nation"




  • Organization

    Shock and dismay over the recent election results is not restricted to this forum. It is widespread and is especially prevalent in the mainstream media which had exposed belittled demonized and threw everything but a nuclear bomb at Donald Trump. Racist, mysoginist, zenophobic, irrational, unstable, not to be trusted with the ultimate nuclear button et al et al et al..  May I add SHADOW! Trickster! Narcissist! for the readers at this forum.

    Yet despite the 24/7 full court press and media barrage of slings and arrows the electorate put their imprimatur on Trump. His victory had nothing to do with fascism, racism or the rise of impoverished lower classes in America.... He tapped into and rode the same Tsunami that propelled the Arab spring. It is becoming increasingly impossible for loyal patriotic decent law abiding American citizens to make ends meet and to pursue the American dream in the nation today. This made them impervious to the mainstream media propaganda. America and Americans first resonated with them as it provided them with the hope that they could regain their freedom to pursue happiness and the American way of life. There is a massive socioeconomic transformation happening in America. Think of Elon Musk saying robots are going to eliminate most of the jobs. A historical change with all its tectonic distortions and attendant disruptions is underway. The election result is a function of the change that is sweeping the nation.

    The NY times was also shocked at the elections outcome. That they had used every trick in the book to derail Trump and had failed to do so must have especially amplified their disbelief at the outcome To their credit they took some time to reflect upon and to try to understand what had happened. I suspect a bit of introspection and analysis of the trump phenomenon would be therapeutic for us all.

    New York Times publisher vows to 'rededicate' paper to reporting honestly

    The publisher of The New York Times penned a letter to readers Friday promising that the paper would “reflect” on its coverage of this year’s election while rededicating itself to reporting on “America and the world” honestly.

    Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr., the paper’s embattled publisher, appealed to Times readers for their continued support.


    New York Post columnist and former Times reporter Michael Goodwin wrote, "because it (The Times) demonized Trump from start to finish, it failed to realize he was onto something. And because the paper decided that Trump’s supporters were a rabble of racist rednecks and homophobes, it didn’t have a clue about what was happening in the lives of the Americans who elected the new president.


    Why am I revisiting the nature verses nurture debate following the 2016 USA Presidential election?

    My teacher always encouraged me to stay informed about what was “happening” in the world that surrounds me as these factors may affect my very existence and quality of life.  Sound advice.  I joined DPA in 2012 in the hopes of finding a “virtual” community where I could engage in online and in-depth conversations.  To this end, I have participated in many offerings and conversations that either pushed me towards deeper explorations and/or frustrated me due to content being lost in translation.  I am not scholarly regarding mythology nor do I align myself within a neither psychoanalytical nor Jungian point of view.  Let me try to explain what I am trying to convey in simple, respectful manner.

    My father was a wise man and one of the most important teachings he gave me was when I was 12 years old when he stated, “If you remember nothing else I have tried to teach you, remember this…if your word doesn’t mean anything, then, nothing else matters.”   I have seriously contemplated upon this advice my entire life and have taken my father's teaching to heart.

    The other good conversational pieces of wisdom that I keep in my conversational toolkit are:

    1) If you have to take someone else down to make yourself look good [right], then, resist... that approach for if you have nothing kind or constructive to say that helps build the other person up or improve your relationship with each other, then, do not say anything at all.  Silence is golden. 

    2) What you think is, so be careful regarding the words you choose to express your own personal thoughts.  Words are powerful and they can both nurture or abuse.  Thoughts can deceive.

    3) Be careful using, dropping people’s names and ideas, integrating them into your own personal experiences, narrative, and formation of your on-going moral fibre  - compass you use traversing time.  The use of words forms constructs, powerful sources, a way of disseminating your private and professional views into the public arena.  We are social beings living together within a cultural context.  We are all trying to individuate and maintain health and wellness affirming, due care and attention for our young to ensure the survival/care of our species/planet. 

    Beware the influence we have upon each other for "undue influence and abuse" contaminates our soul journey, collective – destiny.  I personally try hard to not be unkind nor hurt another, and definitely do not want to be misunderstood, so I remain careful and cautious in what I say, and if I have a reaction…I immediately own it for that reaction tells me the animal instincts in me feels unsafe [real or imagined], and needs more in-depth personal work.

    After all is said and one, I need to be able to look at myself in the mirror - each and every new day dawning [a gift] I awaken to, use my time wisely, and to do so, I need to feel comfortably within my own skin.

    Pre-election, I avoided joining in on any further race/politically based conversations this past year for I wanted to simply follow content shared by the membership within the PDA community, while concurrently following the daily national news, and reading a few texts on Jung and Clinton.  These are my bottom-line observations and opinions:

    1) There is too much reaction, sensationalism and speculation going on and much of it is “Jerry Springer” not good journalism nor depth inquiry!

    2) There is too much 3rd party conversation going on...he said, she said...we all know gossip is cruel, unkind and solves absolutely nothing.  I am disgusted with the gist of conversations of both political party candidates and campaigns, in this regard and they owe all of us in North America - a huge apology for throwing gas upon the real fires burning!

    So, now that I got this off my chest, I would like to respond to the last post for as a woman, I am disappointed that Mrs. Trump, who is going to be your next “First Lady”, was compared to “Barbie” an inanimate object [doll].  She is so much more than that.  She is a beautiful woman in physical appearance that has the body frame, hence, was a model.  My husband and I liked her last speech, and in her own way, and in the background, I do believe she will rise to the occasion to address cyber-bullies, including her spouse!  After all it was a “dirty” election campaign full of historic trails of abnormal power dynamics, greed and lust in the lives of many of the characters on stage - the elite, rich and famous!

    Let us get into more forgiveness and lovingkindness…please.  I do appreciate all the divergent points of view, however, my suggestion is…if you are posting complex theorems to others with a similar analytical flavour, please do not leave the rest of us out...getting lost in translation, and briefly summarize a paragraph in plain language, for those of us who have no idea or desire to get into that amount of depth that you are pursing on any particular thread of knowledge.

    I am going back, for the third time [3 decades of study], to review the nature verses nurture controversy literature of the 19th and 20 century scholars…within the mix of contemporary research on near-death and trauma wounds.  Have a blessed day. 


    I am so sad your Veteran’s day and our Remembrance Day ceremonies were contaminated with civil unrest.  During the trumpet and bagpipe offerings to honour the fallen and dead…I cried.


    Peace + Love Linda

    • Hello Linda,

      I am sorry first of all for having stirred things up for you, I really mean it. However in my very first message to this forum, (to which I refer to in my last one), I did explain of my (personal) need to take a satirical approach. Perhaps I did not make it explicit enough but I used the words I used because I too cannot endure the level of seriousness, trench digging and position taking that the whole event seems to have triggered. To keep with the trenches metaphor, do you know that in one year of the first world war (1914?) apparently on Christmas day some soldiers from both sides came out and played a game of football (Link)  Well, I am feeling a bit like that, I just want to play a different game than the seriousness of the trenches game. By the way, I too had a chance to admire the new First Lady making her speech and I really think she has all the qualities needed to be the President's wife. My name calling (the Barbie reference) was just a way of being sarcastic in wanting to confound my true sentiment (and I suppose that of many men) of finding her very attractive. Finally, allow me to revert to my equivocating self (please forgive me for my mischievousnesses but I just cannot resist). I liked Melania speech but she said the word "Donald" too many times.

      Peace and love to you too.

  • 12 November 2016

    Dear distressed people, what else (see my previous) to say? But I thought it is time to let my spontaneous muttering flow, especially after seeing the kind of discourse being brought to this "Wailing Wall" (Oops, no pun intended, I am aware of the "Other wall" used during the campaign).
    First, the "biblical notes" on what Jung said (titles, chapters, and pages) have really impressed me, but I am afraid, first I have to take you on trust, I don't really know much and I have no access to all those books you are referring to, and second I am now left with questions. Did Jung know Trump was coming? And is Jung up there watching over us? I wander. I will send a prayer, just in case.

    I then particularly liked the "facts and figures" of the statistical view, very effective in painting a  concrete enough reality for me to feel I am now able to cling onto something solid (I particularly like the 62% figure which I will remember to use in arguments with others). 

    Some have brought the historical notes on Fascism and other "isms" with which, frankly, I slightly struggle. I am now left wandering: has Hitler come back in disguise? He is definitely not Mussolini, I know that much (I am Italian), definitely more like Adolf, if we pay attention to the hairy clues (moustache <=> wig like hair?) and also, should I now worry about my Mexican friends? I mean, has the dehumanisation process started? We know how it ends up: "they are not real humans, they are Mexicans. Let's put them behind the wall".
    For my personal contribution on the events I want to send a special note of sympathy to the women for the missed opportunity of having a first woman president. Hillary would have been a great role model for women of the World on how to deal with misbehaving men and she would have brought Bill with her, in all her public affairs, as a real example of her achievement with those issues. I am sorry.

    Now we will have to endure that Barbie type of Trump's wife whenever he shows up on his presidential business. I mean, who wants to have a woman like Melania as a wife? Especially if you are the President. Imagine the chaos: there you are, making the most important speech on an economic policy and nobody can concentrate, not even the women. This spells disaster, you mark my words.
    Finally, on the errors of the actual campaign. I think it would be accurate to summarise Hillary's core message in her campaign with the old Italian proverb: "gallina vecchia fa buon brodo", which translates into English as: and old hen makes a good broth.
    That in itself is not such a bad message, unless of course you are addressing a bunch of folks who are hoping for a steak. God bless America

  • I've read your insights, above, with interest. I really do hope that your comments re change in individuals often being preceded by extreme polarised intra-psychic struggle pointing in the other (death wish?) direction just prior to the break through. I take some comfort in your reminding us of this phenomenon and hope it does indeed also apply to social wholes. Everyone, even the likes of Richard Branson are talking, all of a sudden, about the stresses on lower income people that came with economic globalisation in particular. So this emergence of issues previously repressed is already happening. Thankyou for you insights - much to ponder from this entire discussion, beginning with Bonnie's heartfelt opening statement. kind regards Ian Irvine (Hobson)

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