Saturday, August 31, 2013

WOUNDED EGOS ON THE WORLD STAGE (reposted from Cafe Magazine-Chicago, Sep. 1, 2011)

Trying to understand our president’s projection and self chosen identity in the international stage as America’s atoner perhaps can only be done by looking at aspects of his own autobiography. His understanding that there is something to heal about America’s past, and he is the one called to do it (“For those who question the character and cause of my nation, I ask you to look at the concrete actions we have taken in just nine months.”) fits the psychological profile of a man with a severely wounded ego as a boy and who grows to overcompensate.

In a way it's a version of the Napoleonic complex. But instead of making up for short stature they make up for incompletely developed egos, for lack of a healthy relationship with a father.

These are huge egos that become so from an over inflated sense of self-importance. They have the need to constantly having to prove themselves and their sense of self-worth, before themselves and before the world, by feats which bring them approval and adulation from others as surrogate fathers ("Look at me daddy, look at me! I can do it"). As if trying to reconcile their separated parents, these wounded egos seek to reconcile the world, often carrying on their shoulders guilt for sins that are no theirs.

They keep trying on various identities, or doing things in music, art, politics, until they find that which guarantees and satisfies the craved attention.

In the political arena these men could be dangerous. They are not true ideologues but use whatever ideology is popular and convenient at the moment to prop themselves up. This leads to the irrationality and the inflexibility of dictatorial tendencies. Any attack on their ideology or plans is a personal attack on them and their wounded egos. That ego is usually protected by an identity super structure, a suit of armor made of an alloy of inherited or self-tailored identities of race, nationality, culture, etc. Any criticism must be the result of some vast conspiracy, vast enough to match their egos. 

They are not truly original thinkers because their need to seek approval has led them to the creation of a mental collage of what is intellectually popularly available. The ideology or political plans they dress themselves with must be of necessity large in scope, utopian and capable of providing the space needed for their large plans. Large ideologies serve to reinforce in them the conviction that only they can make a reality the ideology, because only they are in possession of the quasi-messianic qualities necessary to bringing it to fruition.  

Among those feats which prove to them and reinforce their sense of self-worth and need for constant approval and adulation are long speeches, as for example in the UN in the case of politicians. The rhetorical content of their speeches is full of "I, me, I am" and so on (“I prohibited the use of torture. I ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed”).

Benevolent examples of these egos and their sense of grandiosity may include Bill Clinton, or artists like Elton John. In all cases, the local stage, the local public square is not large enough. They need that largest one in which they cannot be upstaged: the world stage.

Examples of the non-benevolent kind in politics include Fidel Castro, Ghaddafi, Chavez, Ahmadenijad (Hitler being the classic). They also have in common claims to past grievances from which their countries need to heal. Certainly President Obama cannot be compared to them, but why do these same men continue to express their admiration and identification with President Obama? 


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