Watching the second presidential debate this past week, I found myself thinking about Donald Trump’s worldview, which apparently is shared by about 40% of my fellow Americans. In a nutshell: might makes right. The ends justify the means, and we will destroy anyone who gets in the way of our pleasant life. Doesn’t matter who gets hurt, what tactics are used, or what others think. With strength and power and bluster we can make America Great Again.
So then yesterday I read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. There is a point when Harry as a parent makes a choice to punish his son in a overly harsh way to “protect” him. He is impulsive and angry, a frequent fault of Harry’s (and Trump’s). We can see that it is fear and a feeling of powerlessness that makes Harry act in this way. In a moment of great stress he reverts to a less developed level and acts impulsively in an attempt to feel in control. His approach actually weakens his influence and control, alienating his child even more and making himself look foolish. Harry can’t help himself at the moment because he feels so out of control and has such trouble relating to his child. I think every parent can secretly relate to this, as we all can probably think of at least one time we overreacted to something because we ourselves felt shame or guilt and used anger to cover it up.
What Harry loses in his anger, fear and reactivity is wisdom, the trait that was always so visible in the calm and detached style of Dumbledore. Dumbledore managed to rarely react with emotion or take things personally. Everyone always respected him for that and listened to him. He never made it about him. He continually influenced Harry in this way, helping Harry to learn how to control his anger and to think before acting.
Apparently wisdom, prudence, self-control, and respect for self and others are no longer things we as a country value in ourselves or in our politicians. I can’t think of a good reason why this is so. I still want a careful, thoughtful, calm leader. I want a leader who isn’t overly confident and brash, who is mindful and rational, who treats all people with respect, who is fully aware of his or her weaknesses and strives to overcome them. I know I am not alone in this, but it really is terribly dismaying that so many of my fellow citizens no longer wish for these qualities in a leader.
So what do Harry and Trump have in common? They are both Enneagram Eights. If you read about the levels of development with Eights you can see how Harry matured into his personalty type while Trump didn’t. Here is a description of a relatively healthy Eight, which sounds a lot like Harry Potter in the later books:
Level 3: Decisive, authoritative, and commanding: the natural leader others look up to. Take initiative, make things happen: champion people, provider, protective, and honorable, carrying others with their strength.
And here is a description of a relatively unhealthy 8, which sounds a lot like Donald Trump:
Level 6: Become highly combative and intimidating to get their way: confrontational, belligerent, creating adversarial relationships. Everything a test of wills, and they will not back down. Use threats and reprisals to get obedience from others, to keep others off balance and insecure. However, unjust treatment makes others fear and resent them, possibly also band together against them.
Harry Potter and Donald Trump both have fiery dispositions and get in trouble when they don’t think before acting. Over time Harry matures into a person who uses his anger as a way to protect the innocent while always being willing to put himself in danger or sacrifice his own happiness to protect others. Donald Trump has learned to use his anger, too, but for the opposite goal of meeting his own needs and putting himself first at the expense of the happiness of others. His anger still controls him. You never get the sense that he has any kind of self awareness or ability to manage his emotional states. And for some reason many people find this appealing.
I never could figure out why anyone would want to be on Voldemort’s side. There seemed to be no upside to aligning yourself with someone who so obviously didn’t care for anyone but himself. But now I see in real life how someone who desperately longs for power over people and is so obviously without any kind of wisdom or self knowledge can seem attractive to people. if they seem convinced enough of their own power. I don’t understand it, but I see it and can’t deny it. It seems that my fellow Harry Potter fans might be more immune to Trump, as a study found that HP fans are less likely to support him. While Trump is more like Harry Potter than Voldemort in his basic personality type, I think us HP fans are inclined to see the exclusionary world vision of Trump as very Death Eater. And we just aren’t into that.