Donald Trump is the perfect president for this moment, in fact, it’s uncanny.
Obviously not in a good way.
I talk a lot about complexity on this blog. Complexity changes things in incremental ways until there comes a POP of some new emergent thing which is categorically different than all the things it is made of. In fact, that IS Emergence. You can not look at any organism without seeing just such a result. As usual, I’m asking you to put up with me talking about things that appear crushingly obvious.
But listen, single-celled organisms lived contentedly, I’m guessing, for a multiple BILLION years without once feeling the desire to fuck. Suddenly fucking became a fad, a craze. Everybody was sharing genetic material and things got WEIRD. Suddenly there were strangers moving in all around with a bunch of different characteristics. The good old simple ways were gone. Sex was the first sacrifice of autonomy and the first cooperation of individuals making something new and sharing risks and benefits. That’s right. They were cells with benefits.
And then more complex cooperations in the form of more and more complex organisms began to cover the world. But each new multicell organism and lifestyle was a gamble and a loss of autonomy. And there were cells that said “Hell No!” They stuck to the good old proven ways as they have to this day.
Cooperating to build something more complex is the story of evolution. Human beings in their journey to now have reinvented their understanding of “My Group” over and over. This redefining requires flexibility toward the borders of the self. If someone creepy and unattractive asks you to share life’s journey, you pull away, securing your borders. You might say “No thank you” or “Back the hell off!”. Because in so very many ways you don’t want any sharing or blending with them. But even a new friend who takes too much for granted about how good friends you are will elicit at least a bit of the same response. We are scornful when someone suggests an “Us” that we feel is a bad fit. Who we are with is who we are…at least that is it feels inside us, and how we will behave operationally for the life of the contract.
And for people in times of change when the community is being redefined, and always becoming larger and more complex, there is a similar issue triggering acceptance or rejection. At such times there have always been people who balked and rejected the change as not only wrong for them but wrong for everyone. Their gut tells them it’s crazy and wrong. These are conservatives, basically. The tides of human change are strong enough that conservatives are mostly pulled into these new arrangements against their better judgment. Then within one generation, the new situation will be the one they are defending from change and radical new relationships that redefine that SELF.
Communities of people actually ARE some sort of organism, certainly in the sense that bees are. I believe a couple or a family or a town and so on, pop into existence at some level as an autonomous meta-being brought into existence literally by the interaction of the parts. And that when we are busy performing these parts, we have great difficulty perceiving this truth.
And I have a belief system weirder than that. I will admit a little shamefully that I call it reality weather.
Even I am agnostic about this but it’s something I perceive. It is the shifting and scaling up and scaling down of issues and moods and events in the human world. It was visible in the new nations rush to world war one. It’s visible in the wildfire of fascism (and other isms) in the 1920s and 30s. It’s there somehow visible around the sixties and seventies. I think it’s there in mild times as well, but we don’t notice a quiet sunny day. Yep, it sounds dangerously close to astrology but it’s not. I have no dogma around it and I assert no understandable cause. But there’s something there. And we’re in some heavy damn reality weather right now in case you hadn’t noticed.
So why is Trump the perfect president for right now? Because he is absurdly unaware of anyone other than himself. Because he would never have any relationship where he blended and shared with another person. His wives are things. Other people are things. He can’t even hold the concept of what our government and nation mean as a collective and why he shouldn’t just rewrite everything to please himself. He’s that selfish.
Literally the only thing he wants to build is a structural impediment to cooperating and synthesizing at higher levels. A wall. He is the reverse Santa Claus of trust in each other and in our institutions. His mission is to Grinch-ishly take down as much of our system AND faith in that system as possible before the clock runs out.
Every country chooses leaders in a semi-conscious way that mixes the issues of the day with a tribal totem. Trump was chosen to represent the part of America that doesn’t want to blend, or share or care or change. The Trumpenproletariat. As such, he is an embodiment of not letting ourselves synchronize with others at higher levels of complexity. He symbolizes pure self-assertion and rejection of relationship and cooperation. Any place beyond the borders of our nation has become a rejected OTHERNESS. Just as it also has in England, Turkey, Russia and elsewhere. And all just about simultaneously. As a country enters this kind of period of self-assertion and push-back it reaches into a bag of domineering regressive nationalistic bastards and places the biggest one on its head like a horrible tiara. It doesn’t last forever and it can unfold in surprising ways. The United Nations and the European Union owe their existence to the 360-degree horror of WWII. That’s probably not a comforting thought right now but don’t assume the worst. To some degree, optimism is a self-fulfilling prophecy, as long as we back it up with action. Stay cool and take a reality umbrella, it’s really coming down out there.