My Valentine card for The Donald.

Wodehouse – P.G. that is – was always a favorite of mine, someone combining the irrelevant with the ridiculous and still now and then touching on the serious.

That he must also have been a visionary or for that matter someone with far-seeing powers, is something that up till now had escaped me. But there it is! This is what he wrote in 1915, under the ominous title Something Fresh. And that Donald T. is something ‘fresh’ in American politics, there’s no one who can deny.




Here is what the bard wrote:

“Its recovery had become a point of honor. He saw it as the prize of a contest between his will and that of whatever malignant powers there might be ranged against him in the effort to show him that there were limits to what he could achieve. He felt as he had felt in the old days when people sneaked up behind him in Wall Street and tried to loosen his grip on a railway or a pet stock. He was suffering from that paranoia which makes men multimillionaires. Nobody would be foolish enough to become a multimillionaire, if it were not for the desire to prove himself irresistible.”

And mind you, at that date Donald T.’s father had only just been born. So what foresight!

In an essay by the Dutchman Cor Speksnijder in Sir Edmund – on the psychological make-up of The Donald – the trait of narcissism comes up frequently. Lots of people in the know are quoted. However, the well known reference to Narcissus as the name-giver of the mental disease also crops up. The beautiful boy falling in love with his own image in the water pond, this so much that he dies because his love is not returned.

Self-love, then, is the key concept. But it isn’t. Crucial to narcissism is what Cristopher Lash called The Minimal Self. So minimal, I might add, that it is in constant need of an outside amour – whether literally, in the form of tattoos, screaming clothes, over-sized motor cycles, SUV’s and the like; or more psychologically, in the form of make-belief stories and the urge to make others believe these.

Only when banging into others does the narcissist exist – for a little while and just a little. His is merely a serial self, easily turning out to be a serial killer.

Crucial to the narcissist is that not only does his minimal self consider and handle others as if they were objects lacking a self, but that he also considers him’self’ as an object to be manipulated, modeled and presented. Existential reification seems to be the key concept.

Thus only when winning does the narcissist exist; and thus there must be others who should be losers. The true Trump is lying energetically. To get rid of someone like Flynn who is embarrassing him, however whom he has chosen as his ally himself, is a body blow to his armored non-self.

Such men are dangerous…

Sierksma 14.2.19


Author: rjsiersk

Sierksma was born in Friesland, a 'county' in the northern part of the Netherlands with its own language which he does not speak and with an obstinate population to which he both belongs and does not belong. A retired Professor of Social Philosophy and Aesthetics, as a Harkness fellow he taught at Rutgers and Berkeley Universities in the USA, and at GUAmsterdam and TUDelft in the Netherlands. In 1991 he was awarded his PhD from Leiden University on the subject of 'Surveillance and Task: Labour Discipline between Utilitarianism and Pragmatism'. His books include Minima Memoria (1993), Lost View (2002 with Jan van Geest), and Litter Scent (2013). He has published poems and articles in Te Elfder Ure, Nynade, Oasis and the Architectural Annual. Half the year he lives in Haarlem, the other half he spends in la France Profonde, living ‘in his own words’ as the house out there was bought with the winnings from his essay Eternal Sin, written for the ECI Essay Prize (1993). In this blog, Sierksma's Sequences, written in English, he is peeping round his own and other people’s perspectives. Not easily satisfied with answers nor with questions, he turns his wry wit to a number of philosophical and historical issues. His aim in writing: to make parts of the world light up in his perspective - not my will, thine! Not being a thief, he has no cook, one wife, some children, one lover and three cats.


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