I don’t have a harsh judgment to levy against Hillary Clinton in the aftermath of her answering the question about, implicitly, her tenacity in the face of long odds and about party unity at the end of the process. There’s a reason for my being circumspect.
It’s that the incident takes a specific psychological form and consequently its reasons are psychological.
If someone answers a question you’ve posed to them in a way that promotes your thinking to yourself, “I can’t believe he had the thought, let alone spoke it, and in doing so spiked his own self interest!” it is likely that this answer is affect-laden and its dominant is subjective. In suggesting this, such an answer is against other possible answers, including rational, well-rehearsed answers. (The question Hillary was asked about when she thought the nomination would be decided was not in any way a question from left field.)
More remarkable was when she wrapped up with this:
“Um you know I just I don’t understand it.”
Again, this kind of answer fits into a usual form: one understands why people share the page they’re on together, and, for those that don’t, the question begged is: ‘how do I understand their position?’ In this second aspect, there is an implicit Theory of Mind conundrum; how are other perspectives in other minds to be understood? There’s nothing about those who disagree with Hillary–about her remaining in the race–that is hard to understand, so she gives away something at work in her depths in pretending she doesn’t understand.
A question is: How could she have answered and met the twin objectives, one, to justify her remaining in the race against diminishing odds, and, two, to support confidence in party unity irrespective of who should become the nominee?
The psychological question then is: what are the types of internal psychic (or cognitive factors,) that will tend to diminish a person’s ability to firstly stand outside the mystique of their subjective perspective and secondly respond with enough objectivity to meet objective-type goals?
I cut Hillary a lot of slack when I wander around (my own) analytic suggestions because I understand navigating our own human nature is, at times, ‘no walk in the park.’
There are some general possibilities which follow from wondering whether any candidate might tend to be over-invested, to have overly internalized messages and thought forms that could diminish access to cognitively complex functions, including those which allow the subject to view environment and its objects differently, etc..
It’s also possible that, in effect, to build energy reserves in light of tiredness, a candidate may invest in inflationary effects and drink their own kool aid. The social psychic space of being in a powerfully charged group, in which everybody is also deeply invested, often results in magical participation and provides positive reinforcement against the intrusion of complex, objective orientation.
Also, it would be a hallmark of reality testing that there be a psychic background of ambivalence, depressive figuration in Kleinian terms. The combination of continually reinforced inflation and its impact on processes of identification, and the reinforcement of splitting in the circumstance of a zero-sum contest, and its impact on the identification of ‘objects,’ all work to create a field day for schizo-affective effects. If the possibility of remaining aloof from those effects vanishes, one will be fused to them.
That Hillary provided a non-rehearsed, intensely subjective, answer seems evidence of severe unconscious contamination in a circumstance with diminished energy resources and lots of reinforcement of the most counter-productive kind.
“Um you know I just I don’t understand it.”
is a give away, for me, of how weakly mediated by intentionality her answer was. It’s because as the words flutter up it seems apparent that her actual understanding has been sublimated. In other words, she’s been very truthful in the psychologically sense: she is unable to access the anxiety-freighted counter-position that is readily the objective situation if one could be objective.
But she can’t access the position; it’s split off and its being carried by many of her closest supporters as the very stuff of perceived victimization. Thus, in the environment for her are the antagonizing part-objects now named as her opponents in the media, in the cognitive elite, and among the sundry sexists.
Which is to suggest Hillary feels, and is getting unhelpful support for her sense, that people are intensely against her and what she wants to do, and, as we all have experience with, she doesn’t understand. As we all do when we are moved to say to ourselves: “Why are people doing this to me?”
However, my imaginal flight goes in this direction: as it was with Antigone, “I reject the infringement on my integrity and who I am. . .coming from the “state” of the election.”
ANTIGONE What ordinance of heaven have I transgressed? Hereafter can I look to any god For succor, call on any man for help? Alas, my piety is impious deemed. Well, if such justice is approved of heaven, I shall be taught by suffering my sin; But if the sin is theirs, O may they suffer No worse ills than the wrongs they do to me
CHORUS The same ungovernable will Drives like a gale the maiden still. .