"The use of psychological archetypes was advanced by Carl Jung, c. 1919, and generally adopted in the social sciences. In Jung's psychological framework, archetypes are innate, universal prototypes for ideas and may be used to interpret observations. A group of memories and interpretations associated with an archetype are a complex, e.g. a mother complex associated with the mother archetype. Jung treated the archetypes as psychological organs, analogous to physical ones in that both are morphological givens that arose through evolution. 
Jung listed four main forms of archetypes:
* The Self
* The Shadow
* The Anima
* The Animus
Symbols of the unconscious abound in Jungian psychology:
* The Syzygy ("Divine Couple"), e.g. Gnostic Aeons
* The Child, e.g. Linus van Pelt
* The Übermensch ("Superman", the Omnipotent) e.g. Magneto, Iago, Superman himself
* The Hero, e.g. Siegfried, Batman, Beowulf, Doc Savage, Luke Skywalker and The Matrix's Neo.
* The Great Mother, either good or terrible, e.g. Devi (MahaDevi), the Great Goddess, Glinda the Good Witch of the North.
* The Wise old man, e.g. Merlin, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Gandalf, Albus Dumbledore, Mazer Rackham and Mr. Miyagi.
* The Trickster or Ape, e.g. Reynard, Ananse, Robin Goodfellow, Br'er Rabbit, Bart Simpson, Bugs Bunny, The Native American Coyote, and Loki.
* The Puer Aeternus (Latin for "eternal boy"), e.g. Peter Pan, Count of St. Germain, Roland.
* The Cosmic Man, e.g. Adam, Pangu, Gayomart.
Jung changed the world of psychology, and though the academics in the field still debate his ideas, the gurus of marketing, public relations and politics have discovered their great power, and draw heavily on his archetypes. So does any good fiction writer, whether she realizes it or not.
I suspect that the "genius" of Carl Rove is in reality just a natural understanding of how to best use Jung's archetypes to manage us.
Physics was also fundamentally changed when it became apparent that the attempt to understand the physical world by looking at its smallest components and understanding them was a failure. The mechanistic physics which ended with Einstein was revealed as unable to take our understanding much farther than the hammer-crude process of smashing atoms to flatten cities or light light-bulbs. When we looked at subatomic particles--- they just disappeared. Literally. They seemed to have no physical reality by themselves. A radical dude by the name of Heisenberg (widely accused at the time of being a "tinfoil hat" dingbat) finally convinced most physicists that matter cannot be reduced to components and analyzed by isolating individual parts or even individual linear processes, but that the world of physics must be viewed as a word of interrelated systems. The components are inextricably intertwined in the system, the pattern in which they exist. Am I saying that an electron is dependent on some abstract pattern for its existence? Take away the electron's "story", and it is gone? Exactly. It exists only as a region of probability, as a potential, and as a conceptual construct. Like the GWOT.
If any of this interests you, read on, and hold that thought. It's central to Iraq policy, and to understanding our budding Iran disaster. It's long.
They suckered us before, and we are about to be suckered again.
We are still lost in the attempt to analyze the logic of the policy disasters that brought us Iraq, Katrina and an amazing array of failures. We're still trying to parse out the sense--the linear, cause-and-effect chains that are leading us to Iran. We look for the truth, the Real Stuff that got us into this shit.
Fugedaboudit. There isn't any.
If you are not familiar with the ideas of Leo Strauss you need to read this very fine interview with the Canadian historian Shadia Drury. The rest of my piece relies on it. And anyway, it is essential knowledge for today, I think.
The Straussian "Noble Lie" of the GWOT is a wonderful device. Their story of Iraq was one in which the narrative was compelling, and which included powerful archetypal characters that satisfy. GWOT is vast in its capacity to serve as a substrate from which the spin doctors can coax another toxic mushroom of a story to occupy our irritating little minds. The boys just toss out a new chunk of raw meat, and the spin doctors whip up a saucy little story, complete with appropriate archetypes--Nuclear Holocaust from swarthy Arabs on one end of the Axis of Evil! One that pushes all our buttons, --and a hell of a lot of the world seizes ravenously on the bait, again. Meanwhile the central preoccupation of the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld boys proceeds apace. Just what is that, you might ask?
`My piece "The Quiet Coup" details what I see as the central agenda as well as providing a brief history of the influence of Strauss' ideas on the neocons and the current administration.
Ask yourself these questions:
-What is the area in which the Bush administration has failed most spectacularly?
- In what endeavor have they been completely successful so far?
Ok, ok, so the first is a trick question. The answer I am fishing for is---everything.
Everything to do with policy. ANY policy. If you look for a logical, positive end point for the administration's policies, NOTHING has produced any discernible good results. That's why they seem so incompetent. We are looking in the wrong place. In truth, their success is unprecedented.
Which gets to my second question: This group of men, with their Neocon Straussian theology and old-style, implacably linear thinking, have, in their quest for empire, won every round so far.
The "Unitary President" proceeds effectively unchecked.
View Iraq and the GWOT through the perspective described above for a moment.
If you can adopt this point of view- temporarily, I hope-, you will perhaps see the STORY of Iraq in a different light- as both a wildly successful entertainment to occupy us proles, as well as a potentially useful bit of the sort of "politics of empire" that one might expect from people who see the world through a neofascist filter.
Iraq was, first and foremost, a theatre piece for us.
We have made it clear that most of us can be entertained forever by a cartoon reality that reduces the real complexity of life to the level of the Simpsons, --or Rush Limbaugh. We're the market, folks. BCR Inc. just supplies the product.
9/11, and then Iraq worked for a long time- together they kept us occupied, and, with well-chosen archetypes as key parts of the story, they provided apparent justification for a raft of moves that consolidated executive power to an unprecedented degree. Now the whole package is failing as a story. Now resistance to further power accumulation is growing. They need a new story. That will be Iran.
It was also a gamble on the workability of oil theft. The jury is out here- I think it will work, at least in the short term, but Jerome a Paris thinks none of the majors will be stupid enough to spend the money to develop the fields in the middle of a war zone. Recent news of the developmental involvement of Exxon and Shell in both Iraq and Iran suggests that I may end up being right about that. Dang!
Iraq was also a move that was almost required by the theology that is the central motivator of this administration -and the world according to the Neocons- the imposition of order on a world of chaos, which will then be appropriately grateful. No, I am not making this up- read Drury. They really believe the grateful bit. Perhaps this is where Cheney's "Open arms" delusion came from.
It was also probably a psychodrama about a man's deep (and justified) feelings of inadequacy, and a father-son rivalry. I think Cheney and Rumsfeld and their Neocon coterie take advantage of Bush's many weaknesses to manipulate him. See:
"Bush and the Psychology of Incompetent Decision making", and ask yourself which archetypes Jung would see as prime motivators for GWB. Interesting. In the sense of the old Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times."
Is Iran is to be the new story, the new piece of meat to divert our attention from the consolidation of the Empire? I think so.
Policy vs. Story
Us ordinary mortals live in a world deeply dependent on the efficacy of policy. We depend for our lives on a certain level of competence, just for public services. Innumerable examples show that the current administration just doesn't really give a damn. They live in their gated communities with their Secret service protection, a reality very isolated from ours. They live in a world epitomized by this widely quoted snippet from a conversation with a senior White House aide:
Ron Susskind wrote:
"The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''
They are wrong.
It is a fact of social history that the rich and powerful periodically adopt a new theology to explain how they came to have all the marbles, and why it is required by natural law or God that they keep them. Since commercial or political elites are not usually very good at creating theologies, there is a certain class of intellectual that are very useful in the task of supplying theologies or theories of self- justification to the elites. They themselves may well be a part of these elites, and perhaps they believe their own stories. Archetypes, anyone? Alternatively, they may just pander- produce a product for which the elites represent a reliable market. Leo Strauss is one of these- it really doesn't matter which. These often gauzy constructs can be maintained for a while ("Spin Doctor" is just a new job description for a very old vocation), but in the end they collapse under the weight of their own reality conflicts--or at the hands of an enraged body politic. Neoliberalism is surely a good example. The disciples of these systems are equally a victim of a fabricated reality, which fails them in the end.
An ecology of lies
Isolated and unable to think out of the box- in a real systems fashion- the theocon and the cynical pol share the huge blind spot of coming to think their own fabricated stories ARE reality, instead of sucker bait. Fortunately for us, there is a wider world, a world where, after enough public catastrophe and elite contempt, Mussolini ends up strung up on a lamppost. A wider world view that makes a fair try at including the complexities of human society works better. It is still very flawed, but the secular, early systems thinking that brought us the US Constitution, quantum theory and the French health care system worked. We need to stop wasting time chewing on the bait BCR inc. throws us.
To do this, we need to get the old crap detector polished up, and remember that allowing the administration to write the stories that we discuss is giving away a huge amount of power to those who have made it very clear the degree of contempt that they hold for us. As Bill Moyers said in his address to the media reform conference in Tennessee, we need a new story, and we need to write it ourselves.
This story needs to be based not on tired ideology or hoped-for outcomes, but on the processes, social, economic and political, that can be identified as ongoing, and relationships that can be brought to light, often by human intuition. What we are talking about here is an ecology of reality instead of the US' current gift to the world: an ecology of lies. I assume the result will be a vitriolic blast from the right. Good sign- if they hate it, it's probably a good idea.
"Tinfoil Hat" as a metaphor was fed to us by the right, along with a soupcon of ridicule.
The metaphor can always be applied to creative, outside-the-box thinking, whether the label is appropriate or not. Edison, Tesla, Marx, Freud, Darwin, ---all were wearers of the tinfoil Toupe--according to the elites of their day. The laughter of ridicule is often effective, for a while, in marginalizing a lot of ideas that deserve a thorough investigation. Remember the contempt heaped on those who claimed that there was a lot of evidence that the elections of 2000 and 2004 were stolen, and that electronic voting sucks? Why should it be a "Tinfoil hat" idea that something that the CIA does so well in so many other nations- steal elections- should be evidence of psychotic paranoia when applied to US elections? When the President's father ran the CIA?
Belatedly, most people agree now that electronic voting really does suck.
By the same token, having built the CIA, which successfully proceeded to foment numerous coups around the world, it seems reasonable that a deeply motivated coalition made up of, for example, the fundamentalist right and the equally fundamentalist Theocons might take a shot at writing a story more to their liking, to be played out inside the US. Leo Strauss' theology does not even include the possibility of change based on negotiation, truth and compromise. It accepts as worthy of discussion only imposed change- imposed by deception, manipulation or force.
I still believe that the central objective of the current administration is the creation of an essentially Straussian Facism in the US. If this idea of an agenda of fascism is a plausible scenario, would this represent a danger to Europe? What would the international landscape look like with a nuclear fascism perched -and truly paranoid- in the middle of North America?
I try to maintain a wider view and an open mind, but each time I come to suspect that I was unduly radical when I wrote the "Quiet Coup", new bits emerge to reinforce my original thesis. I think the evidence is mounting.
The latest are these:
-- The President's latest brainstorm of the creation of a huge "civilian military force", (boy, if ever there was an oxymoron!) assumedly not subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice or to constitutionally mandated oversight by congress. I'll just bet it will be under the direct command of Bush. A planned force increase of 90,000 men, and regular recruiting is apparently in deep trouble. What a loose cannon that would be!
-- Blackwater. 20,000 men in uniform already (their uniform), and 2500 in Iraq? What of the rest? Where are they? Check out this striking video:
-- Why is Rumsfeld really still in the Pentagon, in a new suite of offices?
-- And today, January 30th, the president has, by executive order, installed a political appointee to supervise every agency and department in the government. An appointee with the power to vet all policy and procedures to see that they play well with the administration's band.
-- A surprising and heartening trend emerged into the public eye recently. A lot of high ranking military officers are and have been showing some independence and integrity in the face of what must be huge administration pressure. Unsurprisingly, we see the repeated (and accelerating) cashiering of Bush's apparently not-so-tame generals.
-- The alteration of the post-disaster chain of command at the pentagon to eliminate most military officers, and instead include mostly civilian political appointees is an event about three years old. Disturbing at the time, it takes on some interesting new potential meanings today. How do we define just what is a sufficient disaster? Who decides?
-- Climate change: Could it be that BCR inc. not only does not wish to admit the reality of climate change, but is unable to see it? The whole structure that supports climate change is based on ecological systems-based research, and a thought process that, if accepted by BCR, knocks into a cocked hat their entire ossified theology.
Whether the reader sees the same relationships as I do is not my point. I maintain that we have allowed a pack of bullshit artists to write the story of our times, as a diversion to a different agenda, and it did not have to happen. We can stop it now.
We need to realize we were had, and consciously take a hand in crafting a better story. Social Engineering, of a sort. Some parts of the blog world are engaged, however chaotically, in a dialogue of just this sort.
The right heaps contempt on "Social Engineering". Pouf. That's just what got us into Iraq- allowing them to do the design work, while simultaneously denying the possibility of the whole process. Before Heisenberg and others opened the doors to a new world, it was very hard to build well--just too complex. And now?
I think it's tough but possible,---like controlling CO2 emissions. And equally important. Thanks to the systems thinkers and the ecologists, to Jung and Heisenberg, we have better tools now.
The elite oligarchs who possess growing control over the conditions of life and the range and terms of discourse have been successful at controlling your story, but you don't have to let them continue to do this. But their control is growing fast.
Your life is always a story. It is up to you to decide what sort. It is up to you to either default on the task of writing your own story, and accept theirs--- or burn this current horror and write a better one.
The Godzales of torture--he may be an asshole, but, today, he's our asshole.
The only good Arab(terrorist) is a dead Arab(terrorist). 650,000 invisible souls. Right? (Yawn).
"Fear is the best, healthiest thing for the masses (us) to understand. Keeps `em busy, and out of our hair." According to Strauss.
Is this REALLY our current American story?
It is now- until we change it.