September 11 represented the collapse of the new towers of Babel. It defined the problem of our times as the lack of conceptual understanding of morality and psychology. Instead of the world clarifying the cultural and psychological differences, it has fought military battles. The battles have entered a new phase by America electing Trump as its political leader to protect it from terror.
The need for clarity is drastically escalated since Trump has entered the Oval Office. Our new president has responded by escalating the conflict into one of two cultures: Abrahamic Christianity versus terrorizing Abrahamic Islam. The situation can be summarized as a power struggle without insights on the dynamics of personality and of religions. Instead psychiatrists ignoring religions pathology question Trump’s psychology as flawed because of his extremist approach to all decision-making; instead of looking at the broader picture of a person and of a religion in conflict they simply label him as narcissistic.
John Gartner, a John Hopkins psychiatrist, labeled Trump as suffering of three personality disorders, summed up into ‘malignant’ narcissism, an incurable disorder. A new psychology, the Moral Science, objects to this diagnosis. It challenges this diagnosis by advancing a relational wellness diagnosis instead.
The Moral Science considers narcissism as an empirical label that misunderstands the personal and the societal problem. Though Trump qualifies for all the attributes for narcissistic disorder, these do not pertain to relational and emotional experiences and do not address the societal context. Narcissism also dismisses the fact that Trump values the mission of caring for others. He traded peaceful retirement to fight a selfless cause. Motivated by wishing to improve the country, reducing suffering and the disrespect of this nation by other nations he sacrificed his country-club lifestyle, has risked being bludgeoned, his wealth coming to ruins, his glass towers exposed to the wrecking ball of public opinion. Trump has emerged like Paul Banyan with his pet bull Babe to straighten out the problems of this country. Is this narcissism or heroism? Is this self-indulgence or self-sacrifice?
The most inadequate aspect of the narcissism diagnosis is that it misses the interactional context of his activism. Trump was elected for being tough. His self-righteous conduct was evoked in dealing with the militant Islamic attacks of America and the West. Terrorism has generated the need for choosing his egotistic personality as mirroring that of Islamic militancy. Trump’s conduct was determined appropriate and justified by the electorate seeking a tough person to deal with an invasive religion. A dictatorial religion has evoked the choice of a dictatorial counterpart to fight it.
The diagnostic label of narcissism shows the limitations of the DSM’s adequacy in addressing the complexity of psychological labeling. DSM diagnoses do not address emotional and interpersonal dynamics. They constitute empirical labeling of behaviors. One could object to the diagnosis of narcissism as stigmatizing and as useless for the recipient. The diagnosis does not help the party labeled. It does not explain how one gets into this predicament and how one feels or how one should make changes to function more effectively.
The Moral Science introduces a personality typology: wellness diagnostic categories predicting and modifying behavior in the context of power management alternatives. The Moral Science applies the diagnostic categories not only to the individual, but to partners within the system. Therefore, we study Trump’s wellness diagnosis along with that of the religion he overtly rejects; both are presenting measurable alternative modes of conflict resolution. We address religions not along metaphysical imponderables, but as psychological entities abiding by the same scientific principles of conflict resolution.
The Moral Science makes diagnoses of both individuals and religion. Trump’s emergence as an objector to a religion not only serves to raise the red flag on Islam, but also brings attention to all three Abrahamic religions shaping the world’s current political predicament.
The Moral Science formal analytical approach identifies the creative process as the object of scientific analysis and common denominator of psychology and religions. Creative expression levels the playing field between the two by recognizing dimensions of the moral thought process accounting for both personality and cultural dynamics. This explains why the Moral Science offers a relational diagnosis — not only for President Trump but also for Islam — as a measurable type of conflict resolution partner; they are both dominant antagonistic in their approach to resolving conflict.