The personal is political. What does that mean?
Trump’s current attempt to exploit fear in order to convince people to vote for him is one manifestation of “the personal is political”. This tactic has been used by dictators the world over.
For example, behavioral science is being used to “market” political candidates and opinions. According to the New York Times, the 2016 Trump campaign used Facebook data to create “a behavioral model powerful enough to manipulate people’s activity and, potentially, sway elections.”
If your Facebook personality profile showed that you were fearful, you’d get a message about how dangerous immigrants were. In 2020 you’ll probably get a message that “you’ll never be safe” if the Democrats win the election.
As a result of this successful combination of behavioral psychology and marketing, our political system is not based on reasoned arguments. This form of manipulation appeals to knee-jerk reactions.
You can move beyond these emotional triggers by learning to notice your bodily felt sense of a situation. You’ll learn how to “accompany” your emotions from a place of “Presence” so that you can be aware of what is going on inside without being overcome by it. Focusing puts you in the driver’s seat of your life.
An experiment in “the personal is political”
Here is a short experiment in Thinking at the Edge with “the personal is political”. It’s based on an exercise from Donata Schoeller, a leading scholar and teacher of Gendlin’s Philosophy of the Implicit. Would you like to play?
1. First, please choose one of the following 3 words:
“police”, “election”, or “hospital”.
2. Once you have chosen a word, notice what situation from your life “arises from” or “comes with” that word.
3. Check to see if the situation that came calls forth a bodily sensation
4. Describe the bodily sensation of that situation with words, metaphors, emotions, textures, colors, shapes, memories, gestures, sounds.
5. Now, take this description back to the original word and notice how it affects or re-informs the word you chose.
6. If it feels right to do so, reply below, or share your response in an email to me.
After this short form of Thinking at the Edge, can you sense the meaning of “the personal is political”?