Trump Books Keep Coming — And One You Haven’t Heard About

Compilation of covers of books about Donald Trump

Never have so many Americans been so aware, so engaged, so enraged with what’s unfolding politically. But all seem to agree about one thing, and one thing only — that the presidential election of 2020 will be the most pivotal of our lifetime. And catastrophic, apocalyptic forecasts have been made by both sides, should the opposing candidate win the presidency.

In response to the New York Times article from August 31, 2020, “Trump Books Keep Coming, and Readers Can’t Stop Buying,” I agree with the quote from historian Jon Meacham: “It’s an inherently dramatic moment, it’s tribally fierce, it’s urgent, so there is this amazing appetite for all things political.”

However, reflecting this moment from a largely political angle — which is what all these books have in common — keeps our view (of Trump, and of our unique epoch) somewhat narrow. Aside from politics, there are important mythic, psychological, spiritual, and evolutionary elements at work here, that for the most part are not adequately expressed in these books, or by the talking heads discussing them on television. And that’s as true for Fox News as it is for MSNBC or CNN.

Given all the attention surrounding the November 2020 election, there’s been a central factor almost universally overlooked. Namely, that the polarizing tribalism that Meacham and others have alluded to, will not be resolved, cannot possibly be resolved, by purely political means.

As a species, we’re needing to become less polarized, and more objective — we’re needing to evolve and become wiser. (While no platform for how to achieve this has been offered by Democrats or Republicans, who are both only focusing on the upcoming election). Though the findings of climate change scientists should suggest that a rapid uptick of consciousness will need to happen — rather fast — as an invisible clock ticks ever closer to a deadly midnight.

Further highlighting the difficulty of our current challenge is that our polarizing tribalism has quite a lot of momentum behind it. It’s been with us for 70,000 years, ever since human beings began to band together in small tribal groups in order to oppose other tribal groups, each following and promulgating their own mythic narratives — and each believing that their narrative, their cause, is right; and the only “correct” way to be thinking.

These narratives have become increasingly intractable. People cannot be argued away from the position they already have. Facts don’t matter. Or move the needle much in opinion polls. For even facts can’t be agreed upon now.

This represents a significant cognitive loss of the fact-based world view that came in with the 18th century’s Western Enlightenment — an “Age of Reason” that was to give us democracies, and our various forms of science, and which was to prove capable of putting men on the moon. But in just a few years, approximately a third of the American population has regressed to a pre-18th century world-view, which is not only pre-scientific and oblivious to science, but also has regressed to the pre-democratic “divine right of kings.” (The former is unhelpful in responding to pandemics and climate change; the latter inimical toward the preservation of democracy).

Gold crown on a tv screen

Aside from a rather urgent evolutionary imperative, what else is different now is that in an Internet age, the “meme warfare” of what were once small, isolated tribal groups, has now spread to global proportions, while their mythic narratives have become increasingly weaponized. And these weaponized narratives conscript almost any significant element being discussed — from climate change or wearing a mask in the midst of a pandemic, to ritual acts occurring before sporting contests.

To free ourselves from the polarizing narratives of meme warfare — a cold version of civil war- — it would be helpful to re-vision narcissism itself, and its mythic, spiritual, and historical roots, aspects of which have been largely ignored.

Forgive the plug — but I started research and writing Re-Visioning Narcissism: Healing Heresies for Polarized Times several years before Trump’s presidency had even begun. It offers a wider historical perspective on its various topics. This includes “taking a history” of narcissism itself. And how earlier epochs conceived, and attempted to counter it. The book provides a spiritual perspective, as well as a body of practices that sub-cultures of adepts have employed for millennia that would be valuable adjuncts for modern psychology, in treating a condition that has become pervasive, if under reported.

The book also offers a countering view of American psychiatry’s view of other personality disorders as well — principally toward sociopaths and psychopaths. (Both were thrown overboard in 1980 by the official manual of the American Psychiatric Association, as if they no longer existed; and replaced by the APA’s self-created construct of Antisocial Personality Disorder).

This left American psychologists less able to recognize it when a Trojan Horse had entered our Gates — a psychopath running for president. Re-Visioning Narcissism: Healing Heresies for Polarized Times is not yet available in bookstores — you can purchase it online at ReVisioningNarcissism.com.

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Gary Rosenthal

Gary Rosenthal is a licensed marriage and family therapist with master’s degrees in clinical psychology and transpersonal counseling.