In late January of 2020, Boris Johnson finally got the UK across the finish line as the country withdrew from the EU bringing to a close the formalities of the process that had begun with the Brexit referendum in mid-2016. Donald Trump, who won the US election less than six months after the Brexit vote in November 2016, was entering the final year of his term and looking strong despite having been impeached a few weeks earlier by the US House of Representatives over something to do with the Ukraine (does it really matter what?). The impeachment came on the back of three years of seemingly the entire US establishment attempting to pin the cause for Trump’s victory on fictitious collusion with Russia. Meanwhile, in early January 2020, Jordan Peterson travelled to Russia. The Canadian professor of psychology who had shot to superstardom in 2016 (are we sensing a pattern?) had become addicted to prescription medication and, apparently not being able to find appropriate treatment in North America, had decided to go to Moscow for help. On arrival, he was diagnosed with having pneumonia. It was only a week or two prior that an apparently unusual cluster of pneumonia cases had broken out to the east in Wuhan, China. While Peterson was lying in a coma, the beginnings of the event that was to overturn the world were taking shape; the corona event. All three men in question – Johnson, Trump and Peterson – would test positive to corona during 2020. Boris Johnson wound up in hospital. Peterson was already in hospital, this time in Serbia. According to his daughter’s report, his corona symptoms were mild but that had not stopped doctors “putting him on everything”, not a little ironic for a man who had just spent six months trying to get off medication. Trump would famously test positive in the last few weeks of the presidential election campaign, although he was clearly one of the many asymptomatic ‘cases’ of corona. He too went to hospital but that was purely for show. In typical Trump fashion, he took the opportunity in the middle of his visit to take a car ride to smile and wave to adoring fans who had gathered outside.
What unites Trump, Peterson and Johnson is not just a positive corona test. All three men were leaders of a revolt that had taken place in western culture beginning four years earlier. I noted back in post 26 of this series that The Devouring Mother archetype implies children and that there are two options available for said children in their relation to the mother: to rebel or to acquiesce. It was in 2015-2016 that the rebellious children found their voice. Trump, Peterson and Johnson all in their own way were leaders of that rebellion. But the rebellion, or at least their leadership of it, seems to have come to an end in 2020. Trump, of course, lost the election. He was also de-platformed from the social media sites he had so expertly used to launch himself to the presidency. Although not a spent force by any stretch, it’s hard to see him becoming a contender again now that the establishment (The Devouring Mother) has found a way to silence him. Johnson has held onto his job but the self-proclaimed ‘libertarian’ has led Britain through arguably the least libertarian period it has experienced in centuries and is now apparently a card carrying member of the Branch Covidian Great Resetter brigade. Peterson has joined the ranks of the public intellectuals who have chosen to sit out corona. The man who won fame and admiration for taking a stand against the petty tyranny of the wokeists in Canadian universities and who has railed against the totalitarianism caused by communism has apparently decided not to have an opinion as western societies themselves have lurched into totalitarianism. Having spent the first half of 2020 battling to get off medications and despite already having had the virus, Peterson announced in May 2021 that he was getting the vaccine because his “antibody levels appeared insufficient to prevent re-infection”. The reaction of many of his fans was not one of approval, a fact which his enemies in the MSM took delight in pointing out.
I have already described how the corona event fits into the archetype of The Devouring Mother. In this post we are going to add some historical context. It represents the fightback of The Devouring Mother against three of her most rebellious children and their followers. If 2016 was the year when the rebels made their voices heard, 2020 was the year when the empire struck back. What will happen next is anybody’s guess but in this post I want to spend some time exploring the nature of this battle with particular reference to Peterson and Trump who best characterise the rebellious children and their fight for independence and autonomy. Both men won support by tapping into the latent dissatisfaction felt by a sizeable proportion of the population. That dissatisfaction is precisely the dissatisfaction felt by the child of The Devouring Mother. There were many such ‘children’ looking for a way to rebel and in 2015-2016 and Trump and Peterson appeared on the scene to meet the demand. Let’s take a look at each man in turn to see what they reveal about the nature of the rebellious children of The Devouring Mother.
It is fitting that Jordan Peterson erupted from a modern university like Jonah being spat out of the belly of the beast. Universities these days have become nothing more than ideology factories which, in a perverted way, do provide appropriate training for those who are going to graduate into a world of salary class bullshit jobs where knowing how to play along with ideological power games is the main predictor of success. It is also fitting that Peterson is a professor of psychology. In the world of The Devouring Mother with its gaslighting and emotional manipulation, the children are in need of psychiatric counselling and here was a man who did that for a living. If the rebellious baby boomers found their escape valve in sex, drugs and rock’n’roll, a couple of generations later, Peterson offers almost the exact opposite. In a world awash with porn, twenty four hour ‘news’ broadcasts, endless entertainment options, social media and information saturation, Peterson has offered meaning (his first book was called Maps of Meaning). He has described to a generation of young people who have been taught that the culture they live in is at best something to be corrected and at worst downright evil, what exactly that culture was good for. Because that message is so vanishingly rare these days, Peterson became a kind of magnet for, among other things, the desire for gratitude. The standing ovations Peterson received at the start (not just the end) of his speeches were a sign of that. Here was a man who surveyed western culture and said “it is good and here’s why.” That was a message that many people had simply never heard because, in the house of The Devouring Mother, every bit of praise hides a secret intent; an ulterior motive. Peterson had no ulterior motive, quite the opposite. He may have been ejected out of the belly of the beast of a modern university but, if I may be permitted a mixed metaphor, he was thrown straight into the frying pan of the modern culture wars. Alongside the usual torrent of online hatred that players in the culture war can expect, Peterson also put himself on the line in public. He had protestors at his speaking events. He had hysterical people screaming into his face on the street. That can’t be a very fun way to spend your time but Peterson stood firm and in doing so his star continued to rise. Here was a man who stood for what he believed in. In our modern society, where nihilism still reigns supreme, that symbol is what an awful lot of people were looking for and it also became a central part of Peterson’s message to his followers. In a world filled with the endless gaslighting of The Devouring Mother, here was a rare gem of authenticity.
Peterson’s message was not just authentic but authoritative. But not in the way that The Devouring Mother’s message is authoritative. The Devouring Mother demands submission. The gaslighting and propaganda asks not to be understood, internalised, reasoned about and discussed, it demands unthinking repetition and fealty. It also changes every other week because the point of it is not to be ‘true’. It is not a means to the end of knowledge but a means to the end of power. Thus, for years the establishment media in the US banged on endlessly about Trump and Russia then changed on a dime when Ukraine served their purposes better and when that was done it was all about corona. Now it will go back to being about race or climate change or whatever else does the job. The ‘authority’ it wields issues from the ability to control the narrative. If the narrative is a complete and total lie, it simply does not matter. That’s what makes it gaslighting; the ability to say what is patently untrue and have it accepted as truth. That is the ‘authority’ of The Devouring Mother. Peterson’s authority is very different. He draws on equal parts biblical scholarship and science. In doing so, he combines the two primary sources of historical authority in western civilisation. It is an authority that stretches back over millennia. It is also the authority of common sense. One of the common criticisms of Peterson is that he is long-winded; that he takes a hundred words to speak a basic truth that could have been said in a sentence. But that criticism misses the whole point. Yes, Peterson is stating the obvious but there are a large number of people who want to hear that. In a world where authority figures state blatant lies in public every day, the man who gets up and states the obvious truth is a revolutionary figure who challenges the power structure. That is what Peterson did. As the saying goes – knowledge is power. Teach a man to fish and you give him knowledge and thereby power and autonomy. In the house of The Devouring Mother, you are not taught to fish. You are given a fish and then told you don’t really deserve it (more on that in the next post in this series).
To a large extent, the rebellious children of The Devouring Mother chose Peterson. I don’t mean that they consciously chose him. I mean it was subconscious. It was archetypal. As the saying goes “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”. Or perhaps we can rephrase that “when the Devouring Mother appears, the children get ready to rebel”. But the teacher in this case was always there. Peterson had been delivering his lectures to students at the University of Toronto since 1998 and had been uploading those lectures to Youtube in the years prior to 2016. Like most university professors, he was active to some extent in the public discourse prior to his rise to fame. He was a guest on various intellectual programs over the years during his tenure at the University of Toronto. But, it was a series of videos he posted to Youtube in 2016 that finally propelled him into the spotlight. In the videos he criticised a bill that was going through the parliament in Canada about gender pronouns. That is another synchronicity because the whole gender pronoun thing is one of the purest examples of a power game imposed on purely ideological grounds. The kind of thing that has become more and more common recently. In challenging it, Peterson challenged The Devouring Mother directly but that was not the important part. No doubt there were thousands of videos floating around on the internet of people raging against such measures. What was important was that the minions in the mainstream media decided to give Peterson some coverage and in so doing they brought him to the attention of the people who were desperately looking for a voice that could fight back against the ideology that was being imposed on them. In Peterson’s case, these were mostly young people and specifically young men. Because Peterson already had a substantial amount of material online, those young people had something firm to grasp onto and so began the ever quickening co-evolution of a leader with his audience. One of the advantages of social media and online communication channels, and this is something Trump also used to expert effect, is that they give real time feedback on how a message is received by an audience. They also allow global reach. Peterson was no longer addressing just a half full lecture theatre in Toronto, he was addressing the young people of the western world in general and he was able to gauge in real time what they wanted to hear. His best-selling book 12 Rules for Life began as an internet site where he was able to judge from the audience response what they were looking for. What they apparently wanted were rules. The rule giver or lawgiver has a strong symbolism in the collective unconscious. In western civilisation, it goes back at least to Moses. The lawgiver speaks with authority vested in him in some way. For Moses, and other prophets, it was vested by God. As I have already said, Peterson claimed his authority not from God directly but from the Bible and from modern science. By contrast, the faceless ideologues who grease the wheels of the modern propaganda machine do not claim authority from anywhere other than their ability to have their words splayed across computer screens. Thus, news reports are full of empty phrases like “experts say” or “scientists are increasingly finding…”. A lot of modern media claims its authority from nothing more than what anonymous sources on twitter blurted out yesterday afternoon. Peterson claims his authority from his mastery of the ideas that have shaped western civilisation. In that way he became a genuine authority figure. A lawgiver. Hence the fact that his bestselling book is about rules for life. Two of the most famous of these rules were clean your bedroom and stand up straight (so that you can find a mate). Both of those are tailored perfectly to the male children of The Devouring Mother and represent the desire to become a full-fledged adult male in a society which desperately wants you to remain the eternally dependent child. That is why Peterson’s message resonated most strongly with young men. He became a father figure on a global scale. It was a role that he had to step into. His transition into it began in earnest in 2016 and has continued up to the present day. One can see it very clearly in the way he has changed his appearance during that time.
It’s in the rise of Peterson (and Trump) as the opposition to The Devouring Mother that we first really see the mother for what she is. As I have noted, she has been on the ascendant for decades but it wasn’t until 2015-2016 that her dominance became obvious. It wasn’t until the opposition formed itself that we could see what it was trying to oppose. Peterson as lawgiver speaks in the stern, dour tone of an old protestant pastor. His message is one of duty over happiness, of striving against difficulty and triumph in self overcoming and, perhaps most importantly in the world of endless gaslighting, of speaking the truth. He tells his followers that they are not perfect little angels who have been corrupted by the big bad world. Rather, they are just as capable as anyone of perpetuating evil. The battle between good and evil is within them just as much as without. “I am a man and nothing human is foreign to me,” said Montaigne and Peterson would agree. This is in stark contrast to the prevailing ideology of The Devouring Mother who tells her acquiescent children they are perfect little angels. They don’t need to do anything to be happy. Rather, happiness is being withheld from them by forces outside themselves. As Peterson would probably know, Jung had already identified this psychology as the shadow side of The Innocent archetype. Both The Devouring Mother and her acquiescent children are projecting the shadow in Jungian terms. Is it a coincidence that Western society has lurched into totalitarianism at just this time? We have been projecting the shadow of Nazism, fascism and communism, all the things we fought so hard against in the 20th century. At the individual level, the acquiescent children of The Devouring Mother demonstrate the attitude and behaviour of the un-individuated person who, in being prevented from facing their shadow are also prevented from becoming a full-fledged adult. This is how The Devouring Mother keeps her children eternally dependent. To the extent that the forces keeping them dissatisfied are the other people in society, the ideology of The Devouring Mother translates into the perfect vehicle for turning the population (the children) against each other and that is how it all plays out politically. It is the world that must change, not you. So speaks The Devouring Mother to her acquiescent children. It is you that must change, says Peterson. Pull yourself together, Bucko. Start by cleaning your room. Then try and find a mate and a place in the world. Once you’ve got yourself sorted out, you can worry about society. This message of personal development and personal responsibility, which goes back at least to Jesus (let he who is without sin cast the first stone), was dynamite precisely because it threatened the existing order which had slowly built up over decades. The order of The Devouring Mother. One interesting random statement I saw in relation to Peterson was: “Jordan Peterson could never have happened in the 90s”. I think that’s right. The 90s, of course, was when globalisation kicked into hyperdrive and the middle class in the USA and large parts of Europe was thrown under the bus. It is when the future Jordan Peterson followers were born. They were born into the world of The Devouring Mother and it is from that world that they seek escape. That is what Peterson has offered.
Those are the broad outlines of how Peterson rose to fame channeling the support of the rebellious children and directly confronting the gaslighting and ideological/emotional manipulation that has been at the core of The Devouring Mother’s ascendancy in recent decades. As we know, Peterson was laid low in late 2019 and the half of 2020. What was it that brought Peterson undone? Prescription medication. The modern medical industry. I suppose you could argue that this is coincidence. But we know better by now. It’s a synchronicity. It’s The Devouring Mother in her Munchausen by Proxy form. Prescription medication has, of course, claimed an enormous number of lives in North America in recent decades. Just to give two examples that have personal relevance for me as I am a huge fan of both their music. Chris Cornell, one of the all-time great rock singers known best for his work with Soundgarden, died in a hotel room in 2017. The cause of death was officially suicide. But, at the time of his death, Cornell had no less than five different prescription medications in his system. His widow sued Cornell’s doctor for prescribing those medications to her husband. The doctor settled out of court. Prince, who must go down as one of the all-time great electric guitarists alongside his pop music career, died in his home of an overdose of fentanyl in 2016. Fentanyl is the drug that has been at the centre of the opioid crisis in the US. A couple of people close to the musician had tried to organise to get him into a similar program of rehab that Peterson would go through in 2020 but they did not get it organised in time to prevent his death. Numerous similar cases could no doubt be found for both famous and non-famous people. What is strange in Peterson’s case is that he is on the record pointing out exactly these issues with the medical system in North America. His journey to eastern Europe to seek treatment for his own problems speaks to a deep distrust of the system. Thus, symbolically, his trip to Moscow represents him fleeing from The Devouring Mother in order to get better and this is very much in keeping with the Munchausen by Proxy archetype. One would have expected him to bring that perspective to bear directly on the corona event. Instead, he has acquiesced. As noted above, this acquiescence has brought him into conflict with his followers who, I think rightly, expected him to speak out against what has happened. Corona should have been right up his alley. His failure to speak has meant that people looking for a dissenting voice failed to get one. To the extent that corona represents The Devouring Mother fighting back against her rebellious children, this is a substantial setback. The voices of the rebellious children have been silenced. What that means for Peterson in the years ahead will be a very interesting one to watch. Will his failure mean the rebellious children will start looking for another leader? Or will his failure of leadership bring an end to the movement as a whole?
So much has already been written about the Trump phenomenon and I do not intend to add much here except to do a lightning overview of how Trump fits into The Devouring Mother – rebellious child archetype. It probably barely needs saying that Trump was a rebel. He was a political outsider who seemingly single-handedly took on the entire US establishment and won. In doing so, he created a movement that was bigger than Peterson’s. It was Michael Moore of all people who was the one who mostly concisely summed up that movement when he described Trump as a human Molotov cocktail that his supporters wanted to throw into the system. The rebellious children who supported Trump were not just the young people, they were everybody who had been thrown under the bus as globalisation that had kicked into hyperdrive in the 90s. For them, “Make America Great Again” had a tangible resonance because they had seen with their own eyes the destruction wrought on the places where they lived (mostly in flyover country). Trump was offering to turn that around. His opponent in the election was the woman who was married to the man whose decisions as President started the very process that had thrown those exact people to the wolves. That would have been bad enough, but now she showed up again twenty years later and, rather than ask for atonement or offer an apology, she simply looked down her nose at them. Again, Michael Moore hit the mark in saying “The last thing you want to do is wag your finger, your adult finger, at these millennials. They’re upset about the whole thing. They’re upset about the world that’s been handed to them.” Your “adult” finger? I think we can safely translate that as your “Devouring Mother finger” because that’s what Hillary Clinton was waving at Trump supporters and not just the millennials. Of course, it went beyond that. She labelled them the “deplorables” and in so doing gave a name to the group and inadvertently helped to catalyse the movement which had been forming right under her nose and to which she seemed completely oblivious. That movement was the rebellious children and Clinton was their Devouring Mother. With the tag “deplorable” she did not merely dismiss them but disowned them. That is not behaviour befitting somebody running for president. Although you may criticise the other side, ultimately you hope to be elected and when you are president you are supposed to govern for everybody or at least pretend to. But Clinton couldn’t hide her contempt. Her behaviour was not befitting a presidential candidate but it was befitting a Devouring Mother where you either acquiesce or you get disowned. The truth is, the deplorables had already been disowned decades earlier and it was just now they were fighting back. Even Michael Moore could see that. In his victory speech at the Republican convention, Trump said “I am your voice”. He was talking directly to the rebellious children who had coalesced behind him into an open rebellion against the status quo in politics. Much like Peterson had modified himself into the lawgiver in a process of co-evolution with his audience, so Trump modified himself as he tailored his message in response to whatever got the most applause at his rallies. This gave rise to such phrases as “drain the swamp”. Two other were also notable – “lock her up” and “crooked Hillary”. Revenge on the system and revenge on The Devouring Mother. Clinton, the wife of the man who kicked globalisation into overdrive, a creature of the swamp and, most crucially of all, the very personification in tone of voice and attitude of The Devouring Mother.
Everybody remembers Trump’s campaign slogan which has become part of the culture now. Far fewer will remember Clinton’s but it is another crucial synchronicity that links her to The Devouring Mother archetype. “I’m with her”. This is a statement of allegiance pure and simple. It denotes no political content, no notion of what she will do for the nation or what she will deliver to you the voter. In it there is no hint whatsoever as to what the Clinton campaign stood for other than to get her elected. The slogan superficially resembles other campaigns in recent US political history, most notably “I like Ike”. But “I like Ike” is merely vapid and fits nicely with the buoyant mood of the post war boom years in the US. “I’m with her” is not vapid. It ties in with The Devouring Mother archetype and takes on whole new levels of resonance. The Devouring Mother asks only for submission and allegiance and this precisely what “I’m with her” denotes. By contrast, Make America Great Again is a goal and a mission. Something is wrong in the world and by voting for Trump you can make it right. Like Peterson, this phrase draws on history. In order to understand what it means, you must know what America was like when it was great, what has gone wrong since and what needs to be done to get it back. It is, in fact, the same slogan Reagan used. In this way, the Trump aligned himself with history. Just like with Peterson, the rebellious children were looking to identify what their tradition was and to ground themselves in it. In politics, that tradition is the democratic nation state and so it is fitting that Make America Great Again explicitly foregrounds the nation state. “I’m with her” is not about the nation state, it’s about her and you really got the impression from Clinton that she thought this was enough. That she deserved to be elected president just because of who she was. Of course, narcissism and vanity are defining features of The Devouring Mother. It is no small irony that the media attempted to present things in exactly the opposite way. Trump was supposed to be the vainglorious one only running for President to boost his ego while Clinton was the cool, experienced insider who knew how to work the system and would keep it running smoothly. But the rebellious children did not want the system to run smoothly anymore. It had been running them smoothly into the ground for decades and they had had enough. They wanted somebody to throw a spanner in the works and Trump knew how to portray himself as the man for the job.
Four years later, it all came to an end in the Capitol protest, an event as surreal as the rest of the Trump presidency. I don’t know what to make of it on a factual level and from the other side of the world I wouldn’t like to judge. Symbolically, it seems to fit the archetype. The rebellious children had brought their grievances right to the seat of power and yet even the symbolism feels a bit off to me. One thing’s for sure, though, when you get guys like this showing up, you are definitely getting down into subconscious territory although I wouldn’t have a clue what archetype he is trying to embody.
In any case, it was this which finally gave the establishment an excuse to de-platform Trump permanently and that more than anything characterised his defeat. The rebellious child had been grounded, perhaps permanently.
Much more could be said about all this, but I think that overview suffices for our purposes. What’s left to explain is how corona brought the Trump train to a sudden stop. I suspect that Trump knew at least intuitively what he was up against symbolically when corona kicked off. In early February he tweeted that it was ‘just the flu’ but, ultimately, he had to give in. The entire establishment which had been running the Russia nonsense against him for three years had cottoned on to what could be done with the corona story at that stage. He did the next best thing which was to push the idea of heroic science in the form of the vaccine but it was never something he really believed in and it showed. It is not coincidental that this is the exact line that Peterson has pushed in relation to corona; a kind of acceptance of ‘science’. Invoking the authority of science works just as well in politics as in the culture wars. The problem these days is that institutionalised science has been corrupted and there is perhaps nobody who more personifies that corruption than Fauci. Kary Mullis, inventor of the PCR and a real scientist if ever there was one, had already pointed out twenty years earlier that Fauci was a fraud but Trump found himself having to put the fraud in charge of the corona response. In doing so, he handed over power to The Devouring Mother. I believe it was the first time in his presidency where he lost a battle on the symbolic level. It was notable that at Trump election rallies later in the year the crowd was chanting “fire Fauci”. This was well before the lab leak story went mainstream. The rebellious children knew the score just like Peterson’s supporters who have spoken out against his support of the vaccine also know the score. At least some of the rebellious children also want to throw a Molotov cocktail into the corrupt system of institutionalised science but both Trump and Peterson were unwilling or unable to lead them there. Perhaps that’s because they also know that this represents a genuine split in their supporter base. Appeals to ‘science’ still cut across the political divide. In Trump’s case, he chose the path he thought was least damaging politically. He was probably right but that did not stop him from losing as a result. The Devouring Mother got her revenge. She seemed to know exactly the point at which to split the rebels in two and diminish their power. That point was the faith in ‘science’.
It seems very likely that this battle over the corruption of science and medicine is about to be the defining feature of the years ahead. Since the end of lockdown in the UK, there have been weekly mass protests on the streets of London with hundreds of thousands marching against the measures imposed on them. In the US, republican politicians are already making decisive moves on the issue. Florida governor DeSantis has launched several lawsuits against the CDC, some of which he has already won. A number of republican states now have laws on the books prohibiting mandatory masking and vaccine passports and have also cut funding to the public health bureaucracy. We have seen the lab leak story become the dominant narrative for the origin of corona. The deliberate suppression of ivermectin and other treatments is the elephant sitting on the living room couch. There is ample ammunition for any smart politician to use. The question is whether it will become politically beneficial to do so and that will depend largely on the rebellious children. If so, the chants of “fire Fauci” may just come true. In any case, that is unlikely to work in favour of either Trump or Peterson. Both of them symbolically lost the battle with The Devouring Mother in 2020 on exactly this issue. If the rebellious children now re-group behind a platform to redress the corruption of science and medicine it seems quite likely that somebody like DeSantis could ride that horse straight to the White House. A lot depends on what happens next and there are way too many unknowns to make any firm predictions. One thing seems true, though, the battle between The Devouring Mother and her rebellious children isn’t going away soon.
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