The late American church minister and author, of whom Donald Trump is an acolyte (he married his first wife in Peale’s reform church and was part of his congregation when he was young) didn’t think self-knowledge was important. Instead, he believed in self-hypnosis.
But as a psychiatrist, R C Murphy, pointed out, repeated hypnosis defeats an individual’s self-motivation, self-knowledge, unique sense of self, sense of reality and ability to think critically.
Trump may have a strong sense of self (alpha male with a killer’s instinct) but he clearly lacks a sense of reality when it doesn’t suit him and his ability to think critically is sorely lacking. Can the man not even do basic arithmetic?
This insistence that he won the election (at the time of writing he was far from conceding) reveals desperation and pig-headedness. And this is where Mr Positive Thinking comes in.
Norman Vincent Peale, writing on failure, came out with this gem: “Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our success or failure. The way you think about a fact may defeat you before you ever do anything about it. You are overcome by the fact because you think you are.”
So, it looks like Trump is following Peale’s philosophy to the letter, refusing to face up to the fact that he is yesterday’s man.
Even the conservative media in the US; Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post — former cheerleaders of Trump — are turning their back on him. They’ve appealed to him to preserve his legacy by showing grace in defeat.
His ‘legacy’ however, is nothing to be preserved. Misogynist, racist, xenophobe, tax avoider and all around ghoul — the wonder is that so many Americans actually voted for him.
It’s a depressing vista, those deluded citizens who believed that a vote for Trump was an antidote to ‘socialism.’
‘Socialism sucks’ were the words on a republican voter’s banner, seen on the telly. Really? As if capitalism works for the average blue collar American, often having to work two jobs to keep the wolf from the door.
‘Socialism’ is a dirty word in America and the Democratic Party is not a socialist party per se.
Of course, capitalism appears to work for Trump who clearly thinks that paying tax is for lesser beings. In 2016 and 2017, he paid a risible $750 each year in federal income tax. He allegedly paid no income tax at all in ten of the previous 15 years.
He tells reporters who unearth such information that they’re ‘terrible’. How often has this plonker shut down questions from journalists by telling them they’re ‘terrible reporters’? Trump is a terrible man and a shambolic president, utterly self-interested.
Trump’s niece, Mary Trump, a psychologist who recently published a book about her uncle, said that at the moment, “he’ll be having meltdowns upon meltdowns... he has never been in a situation like this before. What’s interesting is that Donald has never won anything legitimately in his entire life, but because he has been so enabled by people along the way, he has never lost anything either. He’s the kind of person who thinks that even if you steal and cheat to win, you deserve to win.”
Depending on where you get your news, Trump owes at least $400m. Mary Trump says that talk of him running for election in 2024 is “a way of distracting him from the fact that he’s possibly going to prison”.
She adds: “But the worst thing Donald is looking at isn’t financial difficulties or the prospect of jail. It’s becoming irrelevant. I don’t think he would ever recover from that.”
The great narcissist leaves a ‘terrible’ (to use his favourite word of disdain) legacy, a country divided after four years of insanity. Trump never treated the office of presidency with the dignity it demands.
In his poem, From The Republic of Conscience, Seamus Heaney wrote: “At the inauguration, public leaders/must swear to uphold unwritten law and weep/to atone for their presumption to hold office/ — and to affirm their faith that all life sprang/from salt in tears which the sky-god wept/after he dreamt his solitude was endless/.”
Heaney imagined the republic of conscience to be a place of solitude where a person would find it hard to avoid self-awareness and self-examination.
The poem ends with the narrator being told that he is now an ambassador of conscience, a person who has a duty to speak out against injustice, and is warned that this duty will not end and he will never be relieved. In other words, holding high office requires humility — not in Trump’s self-seeking playbook.