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Saturday, 9 September 2017

Hints about the theory of the subject:

After an interesting exchange with a colleague about the “theory of the subject” I replied to some of his queries in the following note, which he seemed to be a greable to publish it on my blog.

I believe we do not have the same meaning for the term “theory”. A theory, epistemologically speaking, is a statement (s) regarding a subject matter in which the theory provides a comprehensive understanding of the link between the structure and the function of that subject matter. I limit my usage of that definition to what I consider a theoretical aspect in psychoanalysis. Freud did not have a theory of psychoanalysis but had three theories about issues he dealt with in investigating the intrapsychic (dreams, sexuality and Trieb (instinct). For example, his theory of dreams goes that way: a dream’s structure is combining the day residue and a corresponding infantile situation in a visual image, in which the unpleasant condition that instigated the dream is changed to a better outcome (fulfilling a wish). The theory also includes an extensive elaboration of the manner the unpleasant instigator of the dream is transformed into the visual nature of the dream. The theory also shows the mechanisms that makes the function of the dream (wish fulfilment) reach its objective through that particular structure (the dream). I cannot see how psychoanalysis as a whole (not as theories of dreams and theories of sexuality and Trieben) could have a comprehensive theory without a comprehensive theory of the subject, as an ontological entity. Let us go to something concrete. Medicine in the middle ages was a practice without a theory; just very few procedures that were practiced, like bleeding patient of fever or infections. In needed a comprehensive theory of the subject (the person who gets sick) to be become a true profession of medicine. Basically, we still believe in some sort of modified theories of catharsis: make the patient get rid of his neuroses by bleeding out his unconscious as confession, without any idea of how revealing the repressed cures. We also aspire to provide the patient with what could replace his neuroses with new fresh psychical constructs. All that without a theory of the subject or even of cure (in first fifty years of psychoanalysis there was a deep conviction that we work according to a theory of pathology and of cure).

        Some physicians in the middle ages started to investigate the ‘intrafunctions’ of the human body and gradually built the theory of physiology in which each organ has a function that corresponds well with its structure. They also considered the whole body a physiologically dynamic functional entity. At the sametime, when the prohibition on anatomy was lifted anatomy complimented physiology with a better understanding of the anatomical nature of the organs. A better conception of modern medicine was thus born. We do not have such a comprehensive theory of the subject equivalent to physiology and anatomy in medicine. Therefore, we can only claim that our practice of psychoanalysis is ‘points of view’. What we have is modalities, assumptions of functions derived from each analyst’s understanding of their signification, and some idiosyncratic vocabularies. What we need is a theory of the subject as an ontological entity (homosapiens). The human subject is the only living entity that has an intrapsychical life, which has distinct manifestations that are absent even in the high primates. The intrapsychical life of the subject gives him the latent psychoneurotic nature., which other living entities are ‘deprive’ of.
       We practice with objectives and criteria of our creation and based on a belief that they are supported by the theory we adopt. This is belief is unsubstantiated  because what analysts used to have is Freud’s ever developing and changing theoretical configurations. After his death every “idealised” analyst had input in the heritage Freud left us. Freud’s importance is in being the first thinker who stipulated firmly that the human subject has an internal psychical life (in contrast with the banality of knowing that we have human reactions) and that intrapsychical life is affecting ALL our apparent human reactions. Better, Freud is the first thinker who pointed out that understanding human reactions will come from exploring the intrapsychical life of the subject. It is important to note that the insight that created psychoanalysis was the product of more than half a century of laborious works that were full of twists and turns. It was not a brilliant insight that hit Freud like Einstein’s first of two insights that engendered his two theories of relativity. It is important to underline this fact because Freud’s significance appears only when he is studied scholarly to comprehend the way of thinking that was prophylactic against the sudden and premature death of his endeavour. This is a better way of idealizing him. Therefore, we need to investigate and study the intrapsychical enough and better to derive from it what we could use to formulated the theory of the subject. This has to be a collective, collaborative work.
       My interest in the subject pulled my attention to four psychoanalytic Freudian discoveries in the intrapsychical: the wish and wishing, the duality of the I and the Me in self conception, sexuality (infantile and adult) and anxiety. I believe that those four intrapsychical could help other analyst in advancing the theory quickly.  Those four attributes distinguish the human subject from all other living entities including the higher primates. They are also of significant diagnostic value within the homosapiens entity. We can, or used to be able, to relate most of the subjects creative and pathological manifestation to the dynamics of those attributes. Psychoanalysis has to go through the same process that gave medicine its physiology and anatomy; and pharmacology too. Discovering (and or assimilating) the notion that the human subject as a dynamic system of psychological function that integrate to create the psychological human being we deal with, is an essential demand if we want to continue calling ourselves psychoanalysts. I can say that psychology, as an academic discipline has covered a great deal of that territory but got no help from psychoanalysis to compliment the cognitive discoveries in psychology. In other words, the theory of the subject, the physiology and anatomy of the psychological human being, needs to be constructed and seriously construed with an eye on what we still do not know about our intrapsychical life.      However, this is not possible to consider unless we agree on an answer to this question: Is psychoanalysis education or training?

       A couple of years ago I was expressing the idea that training needs a general overhaul and academia should be considered as a way to get to that point. The idea of moving psychoanalysis from the institute system of training to academia, was not well put together in my mind. Thanks to Dr. Arlyne Richards’s sharp mind, she put the problem in this format: education instead of training. What we cannot miss is the psychoanalysts’ preference of training over education. I do not need to delve into the conscious and the unconscious reasons for that preference. However, the main point in answering this question is that psychoanalysis was born as training, not out of choice but out of necessity. There was nothing much to consider the issue of education, and whatever was there to study was piecemeal knowledge. Moreover, Freud and his followers, that will one day require anything different from what they were that time. They were limited clinicians.  E. Roudinesco (2016) said:” Freud had thus invented a “discipline” not only impossible to integrate into the field of physical or natural science but into that of human sciences, an area that had been steadily expanding since the late nineteenth century. For scientist, psychoanalysis belonged to literature; for anthropologists and sociologists, it attested to the resurgence of the ancient mythologies; in philosophers’ eyes, it resembled a strange psychology that had sprung up both Romanticism and from Darwinianism, while psychologist saw in it as putting the vert principle of psychology in danger” (217). No blaming her but to us practicing psychoanalysts. We did not develop the theory of the subject in conjunction with the other blooming sciences and imprisoned ourselves in a narcissistic imaginary isolation. If and when we will configure a theory of the subject we would then provide the neurologist, the biologist, the geneticist, and maybe the pharmacologist with few hypothesises that could guide their pure scientific research in regard of the nature of the human subject, which distinguishes him from the rest of the rest of the living creatures. We could also do something similar with the human sciences.  One of the most important attributes of the human subject is hummer and laughter. It is more than just a differential characteristic of the human subject, it is also-in a way- a differential diagnostic feature. Moreover, it is a developmental yardstick in the evolution of the human infant. We could come up with many questions to aske the the academic psychologist (adult and child) about this feature and let him create a scientific theory about this human subject’s useful attribute, which is a new and rich method of expression (forget the Alamo, and remember Freud’s book on Jokes, 1905).There is a wealth of issues about the subject that has been dug out by the related human sciences that we, as they, needed to work together to create a more comprehensive theory of the human subject. The training system., especially in our institute system, is physically inadequate to regenerate psychoanalysts. Future psychoanalysts need few years of full time education by academics from the other branches of science. A more enlightened training program has to be developed to make psychoanalysis less restricted and not associated solely with the couch. It is expected that this method of preparing future scientific psychoanalysts will not be accepted by the current candidates of training.  Logically, psychoanalysis in its present state will die in two or three decades. However, I firmly believe that psychoanalysis is the genie that came our of Alaadeen’s  (Freud’s) lamp and no one could put it  back anymore. We will eventually wake up. 

Saturday, 12 August 2017

I wrote this post yesterday as an email to a colleague. I had no intention to publish it. But what happened in Virginia (USA) today changed my mind.

The Crisis of not Being the Only One:
The historical event the US is going through is- in a very brief way- the following.
The USA was the least affected country by WWII. It came out of it with all her industrial and infrastructure bases intact, and relatively with the least loss in its manpower. She was Defacto, the leader of the Western world, and the only power in the world. She replaced the old European colonial countries in their holding everywhere.  She helped Europe to recover and helped in building the Iron Curtain around the USSR (as Churchill recommended). Only very lately (last 35 years) Europe recovered enough to not need the US as a leader anymore, but just as a partner. The world also advanced to the point that having a country as a leader of other counties was a hindrance to progress and to good political interrelations.
This change created a difficulty for the US politicians. Because of the wide spread influence of the USA in the world it entered several wars, far from the homeland, and lost them all. The politicians depended on claiming that they are “making” the US the greatest thing in the history of nations, to play with the emotions of their constituents, who were mislead most of the time (not in the Vietnam war). There was a clear link between failures abroad and some dissatisfaction internally and the increase of the politicians effort of agrondization to mislead. It was difficult to keep the constituents in check without misleading them by increasing the  rhetoric of the Greatest country in the world, the Greatest democracy in the world, the Greatest wisdom of its forefathers (which are all not true). All of Europe is democratic and have a very simple and practical system of election the US could be envious of. WE ANALYSTS know what a wave of self deception comes from, aims at, and leads to.
There comes Trump. He personalized the frustrated Uncle Sam for gradually loosing his status as the leader of the world, and someone who has a hurt  self image. Trump, litraly verbalized those feelings and promised to get the US her lost position as…….. He responded in an adolscents way: will punish you by not being friends again. He was hurt by Europe’s attitude  because he is so uneducated. He did not realize that the USA dragged Europe into several loosing wars and was no longer a wise leader to folow. The USA is  also t reluctant to admit the truth: there are four big political entities in the world: the USA, the European Union, China and Russia, (maybe will be joined by two more in a couple of decades; India and South America). The differences between those four do not mean much in modern times. However, what is even more painful in loosing the status of the leader of the world is the disappearance of the imaginary enemy that the US  will protect us all from. Maybe there was one big enemy to the western world some twenty years ago, but not now. Thus, the US had to invent one and promise to eventually  conquer and save the world from, (a target for projection).
Trump, personalizes the narcissistically hurt USA, and is supported by the millions who are also narcissisticallt hurt because they were always masters of others (Blacks, Chicanos, Immigrants, etc.). Our issue is not in agreeing on trump’s  diagnosis. Agreeing on a diagnosis of trump- that is if it is possible- aims at convincing ourselves that we have something to offer. What would that do but satify ourselves and give each other a pat on tha back? I supported .......’s view that being busy finding a diagnosis for Trump is a distraction…..from the narcissistic mortification, which  a large section of the country is experiencing. Though we cannot treat a country, at least we can put pressure on the politicians to stop exploiting people’s distress and address the main issue: what the USA has to do to live in a world of equals.  
Revising the theory:
The issue of the theory of psychoanalysis touches the narcissism of the psychoanalysts. We have never had a theory of psychoanalysis and still do not have one. Freud started with hypnosis to discover repression. Thus, he formulated the Cathartic theory of psychopathology. It came from a practice and to explain the purpose of that practice. He continued to discover in practice that the repressed is more complicated than mere hurtful events, so he created a theory based on what practice revealed: the frustration of a certain energy (Sexuality) which he called libido. Libido theory led to a concept of psychotherapy based on metapsychological understandings. Psychotherapy ‘a la metapsychology’ led to the structural conception of the subject. But once again it was not a viable theory because the unconscious was left behind in the topographic model. In all those shifts and turns psychoanalytic theory was an after thought; after an improvement in psychotherapy. Nevertheless,  psychoanalysts were content with having an ongoing process of improvising “psychoanalytic vocabulary”. It gave them a chance to create psychoanalytic templates that made them  look as if they have a theory and know it all.
 After Freud’s death analysts improvised theories based on their preferred practice sof psychotherapy (Ego, Relational, Interpersonal, Self (instead of ego), etc. Two things could be extracted from this fact: We never had a theory but a series of theories of psychoanalysis that reflects ideas derived from several psychotherapies. Secondly, they were not theories of psychoanalysis but theories of practicing psychoanalysis, which is a basic and serious distortion of the link between theories and practices. In respectable sciences theory comes first to engenders practice, not practice that generates theories.  No example required to prove this fundamental fact.     
If we do not have a theory of psychoanalysis what is to revise?
Freud was aspiring all his life (review his correspondence (since 1896) to have a theory of the human subject; better a theory of the normal. He succeeded in leaving us and abundance of ideas, insights, concepts, suggestions, etc., about the normal subject but stopped short of formulating a final theory of him. Thus, we need to revise our priorities in advancing psychoanalysis as  a theory of all that is related to the subject. We seriously need to rethink the issue of selecting, educating, training, and forming the psychoanalysts of the future. Fortunately, there will  still be a place for psychotherapy in that project. We have to revise our knowledge of the human subject because up till now it came from theories of psychopathology that emanated from practices of psychotherapy that were themselves  without a credible theoretical foundation. Imagine an Atlas of Anatomy based on the finding of surgens of all specialities and skills. We have to revise the belief that we are actually practicing a theory.

The issue of what would be kept of the old theories of psychotherapy and what should be removed and  added will never be settled properly unless a serious, honest, and a collective  agreement on doing away with the parochial archaic institute sytem of training. 

Sunday, 23 July 2017

The Bad Psychoanalytic Societies
The problem with the badness of the psychoanalytic societies is the lack-even the absence- of a solution to their badness, because they are created and structured to be bad.  The psychoanalytic societies are descendants of the ‘secret committee’ of the 1912. That committee was meant to protect Freud from his adversaries. It was not formed for a good purpose. It was established by Jones to  maintain certain  secrets, and the secret selection of a group of privileged analysts, who would be entrusted with the protection of Freud, and protecting psychoanalysis from the deviations of the open  members of the societies. There is no place in this post to detail how this secret committee became the porotype of all our psychoanalytic societies. Anyhow, the psychoanalytic societies are not meant to be nice; on the contrary, they are supposed to be bad because they are protecting certain people and maintaining their privileged status secret, with the assumption that those are the guardians of the profession and the good analysts. Their positions in the organization are secure for life and they oversee the choice of the next generation politicians. We encounter this type of societies only in illegal organizations. Honestly, I do not mean by that to be sarcastic or mean. I just see blatant resemblance between certain illegal organizations and our organization, and I do not know of any professional society that runs the way the psychoanalytical societies are run.
As long as the psychoanalytic societies are overtly meant to protect psychoanalysis from the deviations of its members but actually and covertly protects the privileges of some members, psychoanalysis will be degraded and the internal relationships between the members will also deteriorate. The result of that is  neglecting the standards of professional communication, acrimonious groupings, and a tendency to splitting. I am sure that we all notice those three results in our past and current status of the psychoanalytic societies.
In my last year as undergraduate and early graduate studies (mid Fifties) I learned from my professors few things about the “controversies’ in London, and more about the split in Paris. But what left a lasting impression on me (because I witnessed and live an episode in it) was the Lacanian convulsions to separate with his group from the French Association when he felt strong enough to do that. When I moved to North America in the early seventies I read about and noticed from distance some of the shenanigans in the APsaA in the past, and followed more closely the crisis in the West coast organization when Bion was invited by some, and the Kohutian disappointment for missing the chance to be the president.
The psychoanalytic societies (almost everywhere in the world) are doing the same thing: the senior members who rule the society leave psychoanalysis to God to save it and they take care of their own especial privileges. The appeal to change has to go through them, therefore it is very illogical to expect any change. Added to that, the ordinary member does not have any notion about what has to be changed and to what. I know. I lasted eight years as a member of the training committee and four years as associate director of the institute. I witnessed  few things that are very difficult to change and are out of the reach of the members, even to the training analysts who are not fully cooperative in running matters.
 Arnold Richards asked this question in one of his last communications: Some feel that it would be better for candidates and institutes that the training analyst not be part of the political and organizational structure of institutes Is that practical? Is that possible?  Worth discussing?
I think it is worth raising but not worth discussing. First, who is going to separate the privileged from his privileges? Second, this is not possible because you cannot separate the privileged training analyst from the privilege to also be  a politician. Third, the present situation in the psychoanalytic societies, as was the old situation too, is a product of the system of training; it is engrained in the way the societies are formed. Better, the system of training is the safeguard against changing the status quo in the societies.
The Eitingon system of training was originally established to organize (control) the membership to the psychoanalytic society. Training was the means to streamline the wishers to join the society by creating a frame work for choosing those wishers based on what was available at the time to identify the serious from the not serious.  After decades of discussing, arguing, criticizing, complaining of our system of training there is an unhealthy refusal to see and acknowledge that the Eitingon system of training came out of the necessities of the period, and is not dictated by anything related to the purpose of training as such. What I mean is that training in Eitingon’s time was not instituted to train but to choose the proper members, while now it is presumed to be for training. Training was and still is a pretext to choose the candidates whom we consider suitable…to what!! I say that because:1) there is an obvious decline in the appeal for training which practically speaking ‘leave us no choice’, 2) the standards of candidates and graduates show signs of continual deterioration (my experience in Canada, and the calibre of discussion that we get on the net suggest that).
There nothing in the theory of psychoanalysis itself, or the demands put on the practicing psychoanalysts by the ethics of the profession that could explain the reason for opting to still adopt the Institute System of training and continue it from Eitingon’s time. Giving up that system is not sacrilegious. We should do what Eitingon himself did: build a training system that suit our time in regard to the psychoanalysis we have now, decide what means of training are available to us, what type of trainees we expect to get, and what do we expect of the new psychoanalysts.  Up till now we still keep the tripartite model in training future psychoanalysts: learn Freud’s work and some of his collaborators’, undergo a relatively good period of psychoanalysis for therapeutic or didactic purpose !!1, and practice clinical psychoanalysis under supervision of few senior analysts. The purpose of that system of training was and still is to train practitioners  psychotherapy.  All that is done in specialized institutes administered by senior analysts; which gives training the meaning that was once  there for training for a guild (trade).

 To go back to Richards query, I would say that the present system of institute training is backward, primitive, is unsuitable for psychoanalysis of today. Whatever patch work will be done to it, it will still graduate immature analysts whether professionally or emotionally. Because the bad psychoanalytic societies are creatures of bad institutes there is no chance that psychoanalysis will survive. The natural step forward is to start negotiating with universities to accept psychoanalysis as one of its programs with the idea that gradually we will phase out the institute system completely and get the graduates the recognition of the IPA. We have to do that quickly before psychoanalysis loses whatever is left of its credibility and the universities would not consider our appeal any more.    

Monday, 10 July 2017

Idealization and self dception

I previously published a post on idealization in regard to its deleterious effect on training and interrelations within the psychoanalytic organizations. The gest of my post was: idealization is a way to give one’s self greater value than it deserves by idealizing something or some person whom we are in relation with. Idealizing psychoanalysis is a way for analysts to feel bigger than themselves (and others). Idealizing a TA is an obvious symbiotic exploitation of superiority and identifying with the TA.  Idealizing the theory as it stands now, or our special training in our special institutes as something unattainable anywhere else is blatant efforts to idealize ourselves. There is a serious problem in that position: only us (less than 3500 members) believe in our superiority, because we relate to each other not as analysts to analysts but as mirrors to each other..  

Today’s quote (Arnold Richards) comes from Anna Freud: "Papa continually emphasizes how much remains unexplained. With the other psychoanalytic writers, everything is always so known and fixed." This is a waning to us all. Complicity to idealization of psychoanalysis and to everything related to it will kill it without effort from us to save it: Save what, psychoanalysis! Psychoanalysis is perfect and it is our saviour! This kind of narcissism survives on self deception. .Did you notice that when we agree with an opinion on the open line we routinely praise the college and when we differ we remind ourselves of the magnificence and  insignificance of the disagreement.   

Friday, 23 June 2017

About the Postings on the Theory of the Human Subject.

It was my ambition, in the last few years and since publishing my book on future psychoanalysis in 2015, to show that psychoanalysis did not just create a theory of psychopathology and psychotherapy but was essentially a theory of the human subject. I tried lately to write a short exposition on the issue of the human subject and publish it in parts in my blog. After a short time, I realized that this task requires the efforts of a group of analysts who realize the significance of deducing a theory of the human subject from the literature of psychoanalysis. Moreover, I had a difficulty in putting my ideas in a concise way. There were many side ideas that kept diverting my attention. They did not belong in a blog because they were more evolved.  They were important enough and have clear intrinsic relationship to the contemporary unsatisfactory condition of psychoanalysis to go over them lightly. They prove that  the absence of a theory of the human subject, if not a cause for the deterioration of contemporary psychoanalysis, at least the existence of such theory is vital in reviving psychoanalysis. What I mean is that neglecting the need for a theory of the human subject that compliments the clinical point of view  was the reason or the cause of the present unsatisfactory condition of clinical psychoanalysis and its loss of credibility.
This is talk but no action. The action, in my case, is to ‘put my pen where my mouth is’. This is what I decided to do: write a book or a booklet on the theory of the human subject, instead of tinkering with a posting on the subject. I have an altruistic reason for taking this decision. Psychoanalysts acknowledge the existence of a crisis that is unavoidably going to end psychoanalysis in a couple of decades. They have no alternative, and maybe no better thing to do but to let it die. However, the psychoanalysis that they are unable to save is not “psychoanalysis”. The example to this paradox could come from politics. Communism died a couple of decades ago when the Berlin wall was demolished, Marxism did not die but even proved to be the only theory that could explain the collapse of communism. Marxism has always considered communism a stage in the evolution of history, thus it should reach the point when it had to collapse. Psychoanalysis (Freudianism) emphasizes the significance of development and maturity as its product. After decades of justified idealization of Freud followed by unjustified adulation of some of his companions and followers we should have matured enough and started to create our own psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis is a theory of the subject who is not anymore the Viennese Herr. I hope that in few moths I will be able to fined a publisher to publish my booklet on the theory of humans subject.

Two questions I think could clarify the subject of this theory. Does psychoanalysis have anything to say about “me” who is not neurotic or psychotic in any shape, form, or degree!!!? If it does not, is that because it has nothing nice to say about people?   

Friday, 16 June 2017

I intended to publish the second and last part of my posting on Trump this weekend. I think it is much better to let the events that started today to do the finishing.
Before I leave the posting I want to mention an improvised diagnosis made by a bright psychiatry resident at the weekly case presentation at Ste. Mary's hospital in Montreal few decades ago: Counter phobic character disorder....It might be useful following what is going to happen in the next few  weeks or months.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Trump in Perspective: A Point of View
 Part One: Trump and Western Civilization
I am going to differ with some colleagues in regard to narcissism. Narcissism is the most unconscious condition in psychical life. In relation to Trump’s condition I suggest considering ‘self deception’. Self deception is part of character formation and is done consciously and leads to all sorts of forms; one of them self aggrandizement. The self-deceived person believes in his deceptions. I think, from watching Trump on TV he is way deep in self deception, and enticed his supporter to do the same and self deceive themselves.  
Because this posting is controversial and will raise many eyebrows and objecting voices I will start by specifying three underlying ideas that are the basis of my argument. Thus, if you disagree with them you could save your effort and time by not reading the posting:
1.     Psychoanalysis has no theory of social phenomena (group and historical). Applying the psychodynamics of the individual on society (treating it as an individual) is misleading. As we look for the intrapsychical in the individual we should be looking for intra-social dynamics in society. However, I will try show that there is a certain similarity between the two processes shortly.

2.     It is also erroneous to use the diagnosis of a historical character to explain the historical events that he might have created (not even with Hitler). Historical characters are just agents and tools conceived and amplified by the society to fulfill a historical objective. Hitler alone would not have gave birth to the European Union and Israel.

3.     This last idea is the very basis of my posting: There are two links between psychoanalysis and social theories, particularly Marxism: A. All psychical and historical phenomena are products of dialectical interactions and not results of haphazard dynamics (psychopathology is the outcome of impeding the natural course of a dialectical course, and wars are the result of impeding the natural course of social evolution). B. All phenomena-individual or social- are ‘determined’, their causes are embedded within them, But reaching that determinism happens in the individual’s event by analysing it, and by rebuilding the social or the historical event from the preceding events. They are similar but work in opposite directions. We analyse a dream to find out how it was unconsciously structured, and use a historical event to restructure and understand a previous historical episode. The historical event of the Versailles treaty restructures all the vents that led to WWII.

When Trump withdraw from the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation followed by withdrawing from the Paris agreement the reaction was ominous: The US was withdrawing from the international scene- not just as its leader for the last seven decades- but as the most significant country in the world, as her politicians liked to call her. This is happening now under a false conviction that the US has no replacement in that role, therefore the whole world will get into disarray and be forced to accommodate her to remain its leader. This is a foundational conviction of few million Americans; conviction, which as we will see later is historically logical but politically illogical.

The actual problem is that lately- at least since the Soviet Union (then) created a communist government in Afghanistan in1971, the world entered a phase of disarray that had and still have unimaginable consequences. The most important consequence is the birth of ISIS, which is just the tail end of those consequences. The sequence of those events is the intrasocial structure of the current global disarray. It is important to consider them in any understanding of what is happening in the US now. But, it is not within my ability to do that properly and it is of no interest to psychoanalysts. However, we can say that after jumping few decades ahead of its present, the US people elected a black president of an impressive CV and a list of great achievements during his presidency. Yet history proved to pay no attention to the importance of individual political leaders.  Eight years later millions of the US citizens regressed mush more than anyone would have expected and elected the antithesis of Obama; a man with a very shameful CV and a list of four bankruptcies attesting to his incompetence, and more.

What could have interfered with the natural dialectical process of progress in the US to elect Trump? Reconstructing the vents that led to that drastic interfering in history is very interesting and vital, but it has to be done by historians of a certain background.  Because I am a psychoanalyst and speaking mainly to psychoanalysts I will concentrate on one idea: Is Trump really an oddity in historical terms or is he a logical choice for the moment? Remember, there is no chance for escaping historical determinism.

Trump’s shenanigans, especially when he caused the US to lose its long-accepted role as the leader of the world, even by its adversaries, reminded me of two books; one I read in the early 1960, and one I just finished few weeks ago. The first is a book written by a German philosopher (Spingler) which he published in 1922 (seventeen years before WWII; the other is by Richard Haass, published in 2017. The first is about “The Decline of the West” and the second is about the contemporary disarray of our world.

Spingler proposed that the history of humanity went through eight civilizations. Although his specification of those civilizations could be debated, his notion that civilisation moved from the east to the west in a consistent geographical sequence is easy to accept. According to him, and common sense, the Western Civilisation, which we are part of now, is the most recent and the one susceptible to decline. Although I do not remember his argument about its decline and what would replace it when this is done, it still kept me thinking about that issue. Nowadays when we see the world’s condition and a man like Trump becoming president of the leader nation of most of the world, one has to ask: is this the end of the Western Civilization (I do not mean that in terms physical destruction) or could this be the birth of the replacement of that civilizations?

To answer this complex question, I find some leading ideas in Haass’s book entitled “A World in Disarray”. As a political analyst, he gives a detailed reconstruction of the recent events that could give us an answer to the question: Is Trump the end of something or the beginning of something. I want to underline the fact that historical characters are not the initiator of change but merely products of change.

The gist of Haass’s book is world order, how it is reached and how it is lost. He argues that after a world’s crisis happens and resolved - mostly by war-, the victors reach agreements that decides the relationships amongst themselves and with the vanquished. He concludes from the beginning of his book that world’s order that was reached after signing the armistice of WWII and the surrender of Japan is now in disarray. The rest of the book makes an anatomy of the current situation showing how in every corner of the world this order is collapsing. This point of view validated Spengler’s idea of the collapse of the west. Yet, there are few things that points at a different picture. First, the nuclear deterrent is preventing any thought about solving the problem by war as used to happen before. Second, a significant part of the world does not believe much anymore in nationalism and leans toward globalization. Third, the globalization movement has gained independence of governmental control and governments are no longer able to decide anything about commitments and allegiances. (notice what Trump wants to take the US to). Everything now points at the birth of a new civilization that is going to replace the Western Civilization: a global civilization. Europe is showing that this civilization has been in the making for few decades (See Fisk: The European Dream). Obama as a politician was quite open and accepting in that new order (push for regional and international agreements). Contrary to Trump he wanted the West to link with the East not on Geopolitical basis but on trade cooperation. Trump revealed shameful ignorance of international affairs (intellectual) and wanted to undo all that progress which thw hole world is heading for.   
 The most amazing thing in this whole matter is how the world was already ready to moving from the primitive concept of Western Civilization to Global Civilization. The moment Trump renounced the US’s allegiance to regional alliances those alliances discounted the US, and in the same day showing that they were open for new alliances with China and give the hints that Russia will be next.  There is something of interest to even the already bored reader of this posting. We have works describing in detail the rise and fall of empires, nations, civilizations etc. But we cannot get from them the real feel of living the events of the fall of those institutions or the birth of the new ones. But here we are at the very moments of an old civilizations falling and a new one rising. It tells us something very significant about a possible psychoanalytic theory of social events.
In clinical psychoanalysis, we work through a pathological component for weeks and months without a comprehensive understanding of the matter, and unexpectedly a dream, a slip of the tongue, or a minor acting out would reveal the unconscious structure of that component and put the working through in frame. Analysis leads to the unconscious. In social events, we witness historical or social events and understand each separately but without being able to predict what they are leading to. Then comes an event and surprisingly all what we understood before takes a new meaning. All the events that were happening in the cold war took a new meaning as a surprise. All the events from Afghanistan in 1979 till now with the lection of Trump seems to be interconnected and nothing happened haphazardly. those events which made no sense when they happened could explain to us how after the election of Obama the US elected Trump. A psychoanalytic theory of social and historical events has to be about discovering “History’s unconscious”. It has to be a theory of getting meaning from historical events that could explain the historical characters, not visa versa. 
Trump and His Devotees.
Nine-elven was a major blow to the ‘insulated’ American pride because of the extent of damage it caused and its implicit message of the vulnerability of the country (not even in any war did the US lose a building). If we add to that the mild failures in Afghanistan and the major failure in Iraq we realize that a normal reaction to 9\11 was narcissistic rage that hit the whole population of the US, pro-war an anti war alike. Fortunately, and also unfortunately the recovery from this shock was quick and very impressive. In less than the eight years of Obama’s presidency the US recovered and improved its status.  The economy recovered completely, the country was moving ahead smoothly, Obama as a ‘cultured’ person sensed that the US has to be part of the larger world and he joined few important regional trade and economic organizations, gained the respect and confidence of most of the significant political entities. But the recovery was too to fast for a sizable section of the society to assimilate. Some people remained in their state of narcissistic rage being. Those people were prone to self deception for different reasons.
However, there is also a factor that exasperated the situation. Maybe as a stranger I was more attentive to it than the average American. After 9\11 American politicians and public figures never missed a chance to talk about the US as the greatest, the most powerful, the most democratic and the one with the highest values in the world. Even if that is true (which is not) it tempted people to deceive themselves by making their advantages an excuse to look down on others. The narcissistically enraged Americans found in Trump a perfect leader: he confirmed their sense of inferiority and promised them a total recovery.  Moreover, there was no ready leader on the other side to pull them from their despair and show them the actual strength of their country.
A theory of the human subject (the individual) acknowledges that everything in ‘man’s’ life always has two meanings: one obvious (conscious) and one hidden (unconscious). The unconscious one seeks a meaning and could become very vulnerable to self deception because of that need. In  crisis situations the leader with the exaggerated views of things and is able to -himself- to block critical judgment wins (Ghadaffy, Hitler, Trump). Therefore, if we put Trump in the context of the circumstances of his election we will see that what is important for us as psychoanalysts is not to give him a diagnosis but reach a proper diagnosis of the historical moment that gave him (his psychopathology) the power to win an election. We all have characters as we are our character. But some have orderly characters and some have character disorders.