Trump's Faustian Bargain

Trump has has sacrificed every ounce of his dignity, decency and kindness for power and pleasures of the flesh, and is hurtling towards a horrific and unavoidable ending.

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by Ben Cohen

According to the legend of Faust, a young, idealistic scholar becomes bored and disillusioned with the limits of his knowledge. He turns to sorcery and magic in attempt to gain worldly knowledge and power, but fails and contemplates suicide. Unbeknownst to him however, Faust has been targeted by the Devil Mephistopheles, who appears in the form of a poodle. The poodle transforms himself into the Devil, and makes Faust an offer. He will help Faust attain worldly power and pleasure for the price of his eternal soul.

The tale has reverberated throughout the ages, and Faust’s contract with the Devil is known in a ‘Faustian Bargain’ - a metaphor for discarding one’s ethical code for short term gain or profit, and paying the far deadlier consequences at a later date.

Trump’s deal with the Devil

This is the deal that Donald Trump has made. He has sacrificed every ounce of his dignity, decency and kindness for power and pleasures of the flesh, and is hurtling towards a horrific and unavoidable ending. No one knows what or when that ending will be, but we can be sure that it exists most prominently in the depths of his own psyche — a place so unfathomably dark that he has spent a lifetime running away from it. The money, the women, the power and the domination of everyone and everything around him are all attempts to distract himself from the horrors of his own mind. And unfortunately for us, we are all being subjected to the terrifying forces tearing apart Trump’s soul.

However, it is an archetypical morality tale we can all learn from, and while difficult to process, a necessary one that can be used to help us grow.

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Using the Darkness

There can be little doubt that Trump swims in dark currents and manipulates energies most of us are unaware of for his own personal gain. He has an intuitive understanding of people’s desires and weaknesses and can leverage them to attain power. He speaks to the fears and insecurities of his supporters and unleashes their hatred on his enemies. It is a special talent most despots throughout history have perfected and it gives them almost unlimited power. And that power is always used for destruction. While Trump has not used his power to kill (yet), he has destroyed much in his short time in office. He has destroyed civil discourse in America. He has destroyed the meaning of truth. He has destroyed the rule of law, and he has destroyed the country’s identity almost irreversibly.

Through his lies, bigotry and inflammatory rhetoric, Trump has turned America into a banana Republic — a nation governed by power rather than the law. As Trump forces his supporters to defend him and his criminal behavior, reality has now become a partisan issue. If you are for truth, you are against Trump. And the more you are against Trump, the more power he accumulates.

The Devil and the final act

You may not be able to see, touch, or hear the Devil. But he (or she) is most certainly real. Mephistopheles, the demon who seduced Faust, is a metaphor for the part of our own subconscious we must all learn to master. It is the part of ourselves that craves power, that wants pleasure and needs to dominate and destroy. Those of us committed to cultivating and empowering the kinder, more decent side of ourselves can attain a certain amount of control over our darker instincts. They are always present of course, but integrated into a unified whole that keeps those instincts in check. Trump long ago ceded control to the egoic mind that seeks to metastasize at all costs.

The presidency is the final act in Trump’s long, unconscious journey towards self destruction, and he is using all of his powers to prolong the inevitable. As the stakes grow larger, so do Trump’s stunts. He ups the ante every time the opposition attempts to hold him to account, knowing that if he falters, the game is up. He bullies law enforcement, demands loyalty from Republicans petrified by their own supporters, and wants to investigate the investigators. It is staving off the inevitable, but Trump’s deal with Mephistopheles allows him to survive longer than most. If Trump granted the battered parts of his psyche a moments reprieve, he would be confronted with the consequences of his behavior — the women he belittled and assaulted, the mothers and babies he separated at the border, the business partners he cheated, and the nation he has torn apart. But he will not confront those consequences because they are too painful for him to bear.

Just as Faust was damned to hell, Trump too is doomed to live in the hell of his own making when the magic runs out and he no longer has power. You do not need to believe in the afterlife to understand that Donald Trump is going to hell. Because he is already there. He just doesn’t know it.

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