Mind of State is a new weekly podcast where politics and psychology meet. Each episode features lively commentary on current events, policymakers, and the body politic, and how we have arrived at this moment, as observed through both a political and psychological lens. Mind of State explores how “mind” impacts “state” — and vice versa.
Tune in, as co-hosts Betty Teng, a NYC psychoanalyst and trauma therapist, and Michael Epstein, an award-winning filmmaker, engage in nuanced conversation with distinguished experts from the worlds of politics and psychology, as well as others from related fields who have studied the complex dynamics between individual/group psychology and political processes.
Starting today, listeners can enjoy the first three episodes of Mind of State, described below:
Episode 01: We Are All Going to Die—Someday humans are uniquely aware of our own mortality. Someday, hopefully later rather than sooner, each of us is going to die. For our guest, Dr. Sheldon Solomon, recognition of our own death is the most important idea in human history. Sheldon argues, and he has the proof to back it up, that the awareness of our own death (“mortality salience” is his fancy term for it) influences all aspects of our lives, from religion, to art, to—and this where it gets really interesting for us—our politics. Sheldon calls it “Terror Management Theory,” and he explains that this is what sits at the core of Donald Trump’s appeal.
Episode 02: Delusions & Lies –The Mind of Donald Trump What’s the difference between a lie and a delusional lie? It’s a matter of perspective—especially when you’re talking about Donald Trump. In this episode of Mind of State, we are joined by Dr. Michael Tansey, a psychoanalyst with a self-proclaimed obsession for Donald Trump. (How else can you explain starting every day by reading Trump’s tweets?) Michael helps us better understand the nature of lying, something we all do to some degree, and why Trump’s lies are so very different, even dangerous. With shout-outs to Oculus Rift and Wilt Chamberlin.
Episode 03: No, Lindsay, The Wall Is Not a Metaphor When is a wall not just a wall? When it’s Donald Trump’s Wall. Dr. Thomas Singer, a Jungian psychoanalyst, argues that the Wall needs to be recognized for the symbol it has become in the minds of Trump’s most ardent supporters and harshest critics. Reason, facts, and well-argued positions don’t matter when they come up against the powerful, visceral emotions of a symbol. Tom reminds us that symbols motivate, provoke, and drive us. That’s what Trump has effectively done with his wall. Tom believes that the power of symbols is what lurked behind the longest government shutdown in US history and thus deserves our attention.
Mind of State is produced and recorded out of Hangar Studios in NYC, by Michael Epstein, Jonathan Kopp, Betty Teng, and Thomas Singer. New episodes released weekly on Tuesdays on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, Spotify, Soundcloud, and via RSS feed. More information: JK@MINDOFSTATE.COM
- Michael Epstein, Co-Host & Co-Producer Michael Epstein is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who has been nominated for an Academy Award and awarded two George Foster Peabody Awards, two Emmy Awards, a Writers Guild Award as well as other industry honors. Epstein teaches documentary journalism at the School of Visual Arts MFA program in documentary film.
- Betty Teng, Co-Host & Co-Producer Betty P. Teng, LMSW, MFA, is a psychoanalyst and a trauma therapist who has worked with survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and childhood molestation at Mount Sinai Beth Israel’s Victims Services Program in Manhattan. She is one of 27 contributors to the bestseller, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump. Ms. Teng has also written for Vox, Slate, and Alternet. Ms. Teng sees patients in private practice and at the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy. She is also an award-winning screenwriter and editor whose credits include films by Ang Lee, Robert Altman, and Mike Nichols.
- Jonathan Kopp, Co-Producer Jonathan Kopp is a strategic communications expert specializing in issue and positioning campaigns for candidates, causes, companies, and countries. He is a managing director at the Glover Park Group. Jonathan was a member of the Obama for America 2008 National Media Team, the Opposition Research & Rapid Response Team of the 1992 Clinton/Gore “War Room,” and the Clinton Administration White House staff. He received the World Brand Congress 2011 Brand Leadership Award for Global Leadership in Digital & Social Media.
- Thomas Singer, Co-Producer Thomas Singer, MD, is a psychiatrist and Jungian psychoanalyst. Tom is an expert on the relationships between myth, politics, and psyche in his studies of The Vision Thing and the Ancient Greece, Modern Psyche series. He is the editor of a series of books exploring cultural complexes, including Placing Psyche, Listening to Latin America, Europe’s Many Souls, The Cultural Complex. He is president of the National ARAS, an archive of symbolic imagery that has created The Book of Symbols.