I recommend watching George Stephanopoulos’ interview with Trump and family, aired today on Good Morning America, but likely to be repeated on This Week on Sunday. He really brings out the bluster, paranoia, and delusions of the man.
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Just to keep my faithful readers up to date, I’ve just been correcting the copy-edited ms of my book Philosophical Provocations: 55 Short Essays for MIT Press. There are seven sections on Mind, Language, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Biology, Ethics, and Religion. My sense reading the essays over is that they are pretty damn provocative, though often quite traditional–for instance, I am big on the concept of the inner, hidden, and private. I also have a lot to say about the reality of the unconscious. Anyway I expect to see it published next spring.
The Trump psychodrama is a thing to behold: his mind is a complete mess. He will say anything to try to get himself out of trouble but only gets himself in more trouble. He is clearly paranoid as well as untruthful–and I doubt he knows where the one ends and the other begins. He is petty, thin-skinned, impulsive and basically absurd; he acts like a spoiled child. And yet he is running for president. And I can’t stop thinking about him.
It’s hard not to be obsessed by recent American politics. I try not be, but I fail. Every day I have to keep my eye on the news. Clinton’s recent illness terrified me. Trump’s support seems horribly solid, no matter what he says or does. I do thoroughly approve of Colin Kaepernick’s protests, though.
People tend to project their bad qualities onto other people, but not so much their good qualities. Why? One explanation is that they are lazy and find it easier to assume that everyone is like them. Freud’s explanation was that projection is a mechanism of ego defense: we can’t bear the thought of our own faults so we transfer them onto others. I think it comes from the fact that people don’t think about others at all: they think only of themselves. They never really try to understand another person because there is no one else. Or better, those people most prone to projection are the people who think mostly of themselves. This applies to the projection of good qualities as well as bad: since no one but yourself is real there is only your own psychology, good and bad. Everyone is like me because no one is other than me. Projection stems from solipsism.
I have to concede victory to Usain Bolt: he has achieved the triple triple. I have only achieved the double triple. But I console myself that I am taller, younger, and can run faster than him. (I hope readers can detect the irony in these remarks, but if they cannot I give up. Compare a drunk man in a pub arguing that his achievements in local skittles are superior to the athletic achievements of the greatest sprinter of all time.)