The Spirit of Grandiosity and The Dynamics of Evil

We watched the attack on the White House, then live US House and Senate sessions on the ‘Trump Tragedy’, then watched Nancy Pelosi’s news briefing, where we witnessed someone fearing the remaining days of Trump’s presidency. My bookcase reached out to me with Robert Moore’s book ‘Facing The Dragon’ saying re-read me. I am now re-reading this book, where Robert Moore explores the spirit of grandiosity. Psychoanalyst Moore explores the spirit of grandiosity—the feeling you possess some tremendous hidden power—and its corrupted forms if it is not acknowledged and brought into its proper place in our lives, whether tamed or untamed. This is in part an analytical description of Trump’s mental state but Moore’s list of assumptions on the nature and dynamics of evil frighteningly describes Trump as evil! This ends with Robert Bly’s lecture on the ‘gift of grandiosity’, which I suspect is understood by President Biden. sas

The Nature and Dynamics of Evil:

  1. Evil is a reality with an agency of its own.
  2. The presence of evil can be felt in the enchanting power of denial on the individual, familial, cultural levels, the seductive power of what the philosopher and theologian Paul Tillich called “dreaming innocence.”
  3. The chief tactic of evil is to present the human individual and community with a false, deceptive reorientation of reality. In short, it lies.
  4. Evil, therefore, has the capacity to clothe and disguise itself in forms that seem innocent, good, or at least justified, and have a seductive attractiveness.
  5. Being near this evil enchantment causes you to lose your powers of discernment and vigilance, and your spiritual and moral light grows dim. Its influence is contagious. Tribal peoples around the world recognized this danger and built an elaborate system of taboo and ritual “insulation” against it.
  6. An evil presence can get inside your community, family, home, and body, and even into your psyche before you realize the danger exists. It is already “in the house” by the time you realize you have a problem.
  7. Once inside, evil begins to erode the foundations of personal and social life by presenting itself as the true center of life. It functions as a “black hole,” a power vortex that, in effect, attacks Being itself. This is the human reality behind the biblical injunction against idolatry, “You shall have no other gods before me.” We can read it this way, “You shall not create bogus or pseudo centers for your life and society.”
  8. Evil multiplies itself on your energy, your lifeblood, your creativity. It co-opts your good and often magnificent energies and potentials, and makes them serve hatred, sadism, oppression, and the destruction of health and life. It recruits and diverts the energies of life and creativity into the service of death.
  9. Evil denies the reality of death and all human limitations. It makes an insatiable, limitless quest the substitute for legitimate expansion of the individual self. It puts polymorphous desires and pleasure in place of a social concern for the community and the consequences of one’s actions. It infects us with what Kierkegaard called “the sickness of infinitude.”
  10. The presence of evil can be seen in its effects on the persons and community around it. It is not simply an idea or an absence of some positive quality. It is an active, aggressive, antilife force that attacks the health and vitality of everyone around it. “You shall know them by their fruits.” (5-6)

Robert Bly Lecture on The Gift of Grandiosity


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