A friend of a friend led me to Listening to Trump by Kern Beare, writing, “Best thing yet written about DJT–and very brief to boot.”

Part of me agrees, as Beare’s short piece resonates with the work I have done for most of my professional life.

And yet I don’t know what to do with what Beare’s asks.

After listening, what’s next?

Let me and others know what you think.

Listening to Trump by Kern Beare, March 5, 2016

No more histrionics over Donald Trump. We need to listen to his words, not gag on them. Why? Because he’s the relief valve for our nation’s shadow side. His words—unfiltered and unrestrained—puncture the high-pressure container of our collective psyche, releasing into the atmosphere years of suppressed hostility and meanness of spirit. Now the nation’s ears are ringing. If we listen, we can avert catastrophe. If we don’t…well then, we can’t.

Jungian psychology tells us that we all have a shadow side: those qualities, traits, beliefs and feelings we hold but, out of fear or guilt, deny. Nations, too, have a very powerful shadow side, typically claiming for themselves all the qualities perceived as “good” and rejecting—and projecting onto others—all the qualities perceived as “bad.” (When under the spell of one of the shadow’s more extreme manifestations—jingoism—even suggesting your country may have faults is tantamount to treason.)

For both individuals and nations, it takes energy to repress one’s shadow. Over time that energy builds, creating an internal pressure that at some point demands release. When release comes, it’s often in an explosive and exaggerated form: violence, addiction, extreme prejudice, or some other aberration so powerful it obliterates the agreements and norms that once held together a person’s life, or a nation’s culture.

The Donald Trumps of the world are nature’s warning signs. They symbolize what’s being ignored in the human psyche, and what can’t be ignored any longer. They tell us when that explosive release point is near. Had Germany and the rest of the world been paying attention, the first signs of Hitler would have been a catalyst for deep, collective introspection, rather than the annihilation of millions. Trump offers us a similar opportunity.

For millennia humankind has battled the manifestations of the shadow—most notably the inhumanization and devaluation of “the other”—but ignored the shadow itself. And so the pressure simply rebuilds, and the cycle of hate and violence continues. But now we’ve reached a point where the cycle is nearing its end. All that’s left to decide is what the end looks like: The emergence of a new world full of hope, or a destitute world full of suffering.

Trump is helping to clarify that choice. Let’s listen, shine light on our individual and collective shadows, and then choose the future we want.