Members Present

Meryl Botkin, PhD, Chair

Members Present is a new forum for presenting work of all of our members on all aspects of clinical and intellectual work.  This forum allows for works in progress, finished work, or experiences that would illuminate the varied activities of our members.  For questions or program proposals, please contact Meryl Botkin, PhD at 415-922-8966.

Program Title: Prophet of Deceit: Reflections on President Trump's Rhetoric and His Use of Propaganda
Date: Saturday, May 19, 2018
Time: 03:00pm - 05:00pm
Presenter: Era A. Loewenstein, PhD
Location: San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis
444 Natoma Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Program Fee: Free
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Theodor Adorno, the Frankfurt School philosopher, who was quite influenced by Freud and was forced to leave Nazi Germany in 1932, described fascist propaganda as “psychoanalysis in reverse.” The talk will explore this statement as it applies to President Trump’s rhetoric. Analyzing the structure of hundreds of speeches of American pro-fascist and anti-Semitic demagogues who amassed millions of followers during the Great Depression, Adorno and his colleagues described these agitators as “Prophets of Deceit.” The presentation will highlight the disturbing similarity between President Trump’s spoken words and these earlier demagogues’ speeches. Like the speeches of these early American agitators Trump’s rhetoric is akin to fascist propaganda: propaganda that is aimed to mobilize mobs into violent attacks against targeted minorities.

War is peace; Ignorance is strength; freedom is slaveryDrawing from George Orwell’s 1984 and Hannah Arendt’s work on totalitarianism as well as from the psychoanalytic contributions of Wilfred Bion, Herbert Rosenfeld and Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel, I will address President Trump’s totalitarian state of mind and his symbiotic relationship with his followers. I will argue that Trump, like many twentieth century totalitarian leaders, attempts not only to create, through lies and intimidation, a fabricated reality, but also to destroy the very distinction between truths and lies.

 

Era A. Loewenstein, PhD is an adult, adolescent, and child psychologist and psychoanalyst. She is a Faculty Member and a Training and Supervising Analyst at the SFCP and on the Faculty of Access Institute and NCSPP. Dr. Loewenstein presents locally and nationally on various topics including perversion, dreaming and the relationship between the creative work of Maurice Sendak and his childhood trauma. Since the 2016 election Era has been teaching and writing on the totalitarian states of mind as they relate to the rise of populism in the US and in Europe.

Dr. Loewenstein has published in various psychoanalytic journals and was an Associate Board Member of the International Journal of Psychoanalysis. Her most recent article: Dystopian Narratives: Encounters with the Perverse Sadomasochistic Universe was published in Psychoanalytic Inquiry in January 2017. An earlier version of this paper will be published in one of the upcoming issues of Fort Da. Era is in private practice in San Francisco where she provides psychoanalysis, psychotherapy and supervision and where she also leads consultation groups and study groups.