The Trickster & The Trump — The Politics Of America Seen Through The Lens Of Mythology

There are a set number of ways that a deck of cards can be dealt out. As you see the cards being dealt, you’re in fact watching possibilities being destroyed and inevitabilities arising. What exactly those inevitabilities are, depends upon the cards that you have just witnessed being dealt.

The deck as a whole could be considered to be a sort of complete whole — composed of 4 Kings, 4 Queens, 4 Jacks, 4 Aces, etc.; one of each possible suite — that collectively represents the overall possibilities, and also the terms at which events will unfold.

Traditional so-called mythological stories can be understood in a similar way — giving the culture that remembers and retells them a way of organizing the experience of what can be understood as being “separate” and “distinct” from other “separate” figures and forces acting in a story, by whatever parameters or values that a culture holds to be important. It provides a framework to understand the inevitabilities that arise from holding to a specific (whether an identity, collective identity, belief, course of actions, etc.).

With that in mind, and in that sense, a poker table and the sphere of politics have a lot in common — they both promise the possibility of winning everything and also of utter destruction. Amongst genuine gamblers, it’s often hard to tell which possible outcome it is that draws them in more. Either way, though, the promise is one of genuine change — one way or another.

Within the framework of mythology, whenever there are bright lights everywhere you look, whenever everything is perfect, absolute, going just the way that someone wants it to, etc., then you know the trickster is right around the corner — because he has now had a free hand of things, operating in the shadows that supposedly don’t or no longer exist.

Any time a utopia is being promised, in other words, then you know the trickster is riding shotgun and everyone is simply pretending that they aren’t aware of that.

The plans of the world are inevitably flawed in some way; carry with them necessary blindspots; trigger unforeseen blowback; or are responsible for externalities that aren’t initially comprehended. It’s those spaces that the trickster operates freely in — requiring that the world not be reduced to a static “truth” but to retain a living flexibility and ambiguity.

The Trickster is the part of existence that doesn’t fit neatly into static reality then, it could be said. It’s the inevitabilities baked in from the start that are bound to bring something down, to undo it, to trigger a fall.

It thrives on comfort-induced inattention and vanity-induced unawareness, and has essentially a free hand in those who refuse to ever question their motives, assumptions, and beliefs.

It’s the “return of the repressed” — the reality that anything that’s disowned in “one’s self” will inevitably find a way to the surface one way or another, and explosively so.

Seen from this lens, “The Donald As President” is an unsurprising thing — he indeed makes for a good representation of the shadow of America. Even those in the US who hate him can recognize “America” in his actions and behavior, even if they might not like to admit so. That’s probably why his election was so disturbing to so many people: he was laying it all out in the open there.

In the case of the US…

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