Who’s in Charge of America — a Man, a God, or an Archetype?
I have recently been writing a series of articles on the theme of the need for a new mythology. As some of the background research, I’ve been reading The Eternal Drama: The Inner Meaning of Greek Mythology¹ by Edward Edinger. He is a Jungian analyst and, unsurprisingly therefore, sees the gods and goddesses as archetypal principles. In other words, figures like Zeus, Apollo, Athena, Hermes etc. are seen as personality types, which can still manifest in human beings.
This is what he says of the figure of Zeus: “It is not hard to distinguish what we might call a Zeus temperament. There are certain men — we are considering a masculine phenomenon — who are effective, self-righteous, who are embodiments of moral authority, and who are capable of casting thunderbolts at transgressors around them. They could equally well be called Yahweh temperaments, since Yahweh and Zeus are virtually interchangeable in their essential characteristics. Such a principle may also be experienced internally. If a person falls into an unconscious identification with it, he will find himself acting and reacting as though he himself were the Law, the ultimate authority”(p23).
I wonder if this reminds our American readers of anything recent.
On a similar theme, the American philosopher Richard Rorty, was apparently very prophetic in 1996 when he wrote: “…something will crack. The non-suburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking around for a strongman to vote for — someone willing to assure them that, once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats, tricky lawyers, overpaid bond salesmen, and postmodernist professors will no longer be calling the shots… Once the strongman takes office, no one can predict what will happen”².
Please see also Jack Preston King’s excellent response below.
I hope you have enjoyed this article. I have written in the past about other topics, including spirituality, metaphysics, psychology, science, Christianity, politics, and astrology. All these articles are on Medium, but the simplest way to see a guide to them is to visit my website (click here and here).
1. Shambhala, 1994
2. in Achieving Our Country, quoted by Peter Cave, The Myths We Live By, Atlantic Books, 2019, p31