Who remembers the 1956 science fiction classic, Academy Award-nominated film, Forbidden Planet, featuring the likes of Walter Pidgeon and Robby the Robot? To the sci-fi aficionado, it was in a league of its own and according to Gene Roddenberry an inspiration for the Star Trek franchise.
Do you remember the monster in this film? Of horrible appearance and temperament, his shape only appeared as an outline as he moved against powerful “disintegrator beams.” He was unstoppable and vanished only when the Walter Pidgeon character finally died.
Our heroes came upon a planet with an extraordinarily advanced civilization that mysteriously disappeared without a scratch 200,000 years earlier, with all its advanced machines still working. The crew couldn’t figure out what became of it, until the invisible monster began manifesting himself to them.
Having juiced up his brain to the max using the ancient civilization’s brain-enhancing machine, a crew member reveals his discovery just before dying from the procedure: “It’s monsters from the Id!” he proclaims.
Well, one way to look at the circus on the Republican side of the emerging presidential election campaign is to think of it in Forbidden Planet terms: yes, a “monster from the Id” has returned. Donald Trump represents the collective unconsciousness of what has become of the Republican Party. Like the monster in the film, he is threatening to destroy everything in his path.
The “Id” in Latin means the “It.” The construct was conceived by the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, and was called the “shadow” by Carl Jung, who extended its application to the notion of “collective unconsciousness” of an entire culture.
The point here is that Donald Trump does not stand apart from his many opponents seeking the Republican presidential nomination. On the contrary, he is their collective unconsciousness. Everything he stands for is what today’s Tea Party-infused Republican Party has become.
Scratch Jeb Bush, scratch Lindsey Graham, or Marco Rubio, or Scott Walker, get them a little pissed, and they all come out raging and whining like little Donald Trumps. On policy issues, like immigration, woman’s health, deregulation of Wall Street, screwing the 99 percent in deference to the one percent of the wealthiest, and perpetual war in the Middle East, they’re all virtually identical. They’re all their own Donald Trump nightmare.
When they wake up and look the menacing Donald Trump monster in the face, they see themselves. While they’re railing against Trump’s manner and his seeming relentless intent to bully and insult just about everybody, they must see that they are he and vice-versa. He is their collective Id raging away.
The Id, as the experts explain, is a psychological construct that corresponds to the raging state of consciousness of the newborn, the elementary basis of the subconscious mind that seeks only instant gratification without regard for anything else. It represents the “tendency to seek immediate gratification of any impulse.” It “knows no good or evil, has no morality.” It is composed of a ” set of uncoordinated instinctual trends,” a “cauldron full of seething expectations,” and so on. All very Donald Trump.
Insofar as Donald Trump is this collective Id of the current Republican Party, there is no way his opponents can make him go away. The more they attack him, the more they energize him. They are stuck with him.
So, like the dystopian, doomsday themes of so much science fiction these days, that Forbidden Planet took to the highest level by positing the more advanced a population becomes the more the seeds of its own destruction are empowered in its collective unconsciousness, the outcome for the present Republican Party is dim. As it cannot contain its raging collective Id, Donald Trump will not be going away.
The only way to alter this inevitability would be for one or more of the GOP candidates to begin repudiating the content of their collective mindset. Who’s going to stake their campaign on reasonable alternatives to the GOP madness? Does anyone have the courage, the moral suasion? Otherwise, it will be left to someone from beyond their collective walls to surely do it.
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