Trumpism—A Passing Obsession
"Thoughts of harmony allow experiences of harmony."— Veronika Tugaleva
Just That Old Misunderstanding Between Mind and Heart
As much as the whole issue surrounding Trump may seem complex, it can also be put on some firm logical legs of simplicity. For, when we allow all dust to settle, there is merely a scenery of that old conflict that is so hard to root out between reason and heart, between factual reality and the sentiment of belief.
No amount of fact and logic can remove belief, simply because belief is not operating on a basis of facts and logic. As we will see in the finishing statements, neither is "good" or "bad"—but let me guide you slowly towards that conclusive relativism.
Heart is capable and well known for creating logic of its own. Take for instance, how a religionist will use logic by asserting that "an absence of evidence is not an evidence of absence"—ergo, the fact that we don't see angels doesn't mean they don't exist. And they won't be bothered if an atheist uses the same logic saying how "the fact that UFO's are not landing in the Central Park doesn't mean they don't exist"—which would aim at mocking the religionist's logicalness.
Something of the same battle between reason and belief we can witness these days in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump, where facts and evidence are being rejected in favor of sheer belief that Trump is not doing anything wrong. Based on sentiment, belief also bases all of its arguments on sentiments, explaining that it's all about democrats' hate towards Trump. Not about facts—but about hate.
To get a fuller picture of the extent to which reasoning can be hijacked by belief, it should suffice to remember the extreme of those suicide bombers. Indeed, if a human being can sacrifice his very instinct for self-preservation over an obsession with a strong conviction—why question Trump's base and their unconditional admiration for him.
"Hippies wanted peace and love. We wanted Ferraris, blondes, and switchblades."— Alice Cooper
Back in the 60s, we had that widespread movement of hippyism that left its mark in the cultural paradigm ever after it diminished. It was the rebellion against the Establishment, a time of sexual revolution, and time for some taboos to expire forever from the puritanism dictated by religion throughout history.
I am inclined to see Trumpism as a revival of hippyism. Of course, with another version of it, where rebellion is turned against the Establishment of Diplomacy. Namely, Trump saw a window of opportunity in trashing that routine, while appealing to people's personal life frustrations and channeling it against the political status quo.
His insulting remarks about foreign leaders and opponents---among favorite ones being "a weak person", which was to portray him as "strong"--- echoed perfectly in that rebellious mentality. A great multitude of folks instantly bought his fear-mongering which targeted "imminent massive invasion of unwanted elements", "America being abused by the world", and "impotent politicians—responsible for all that—being a swamp to be cleaned out."
Well, nothing really original in that overused advertising formula of 1) identifying an enemy, and 2) presenting oneself as a savior. In business, "enemy" is a problem, and "savior" is a product. In religion, "enemy" is evil, and savior is a messiah. In medical-pharmaceutical establishment, "enemy" is a disease, and "savior" is a treatment or scalpel. Even mafia is using the formula---by inventing a potential "enemy", and imposing themselves as defenders---for a fee.
The sugar icing on top of it was, of course, that slogan of "making America great again". In the collective subconscious of the public, their leader is a parental figure, and that promise sounded much like a "dad promising a glamorous future for the family". Well, a bunch of promises that it was hard to live up to---in many details taking no one short of a wizard to materialize---but massive believing has strange ways of "noticing white mice in the snow".
Now, I wouldn't parade with all these observations if I didn't consider myself pretty well versed in matters of suggestion, hypnotism, and manipulation with masses (this last aspect I always despised with a passion). Admitting that, if I were in his shoes, I would do the same what he did---which is, add to the above strategy a suitable image of myself.
That is, first pump up the I.Q. of my intelligence by claiming to be a "very stable genius," also, "better than any other president so far," "knowing more about anything than anybody alive"—all in all, a "strongman leading the strongest and the greatest country in the world, that will soon be tired of winning under his leadership."
That's how it all works -- superlatives do wonders for some audiences, so simply have the nerve and audacity to pleasantly shock people with something beyond factual, present yourself bigger than life, inspire a dream, and ruthlessly mock anyone who dares to even hint at awakening from that dream.
Then, they will like you no matter what, and give you a standing ovation even if you say the stupidest lie imaginable, or indulge in contradicting your own statements a lot.
It's that attitude of "no one can do me anything, no matter what I do"—which sounds so enchanting, and at some point it all starts resembling a magic of make-believe going on, where just about anything goes. Indeed, no one would have been surprised if he had pulled a rabbit out of a high hat.
Does that make him "good" at what he does? Personally, I doubt it, much more it looks like a case of a fertile soil for implanting suggestions, than a skill of the persuader himself.
It happened a few times in global history, when national spirit was a sort of deflating, and a would-be-savior grabbed that socio-economic moment to his advantage.
Hippies of the sixties called themselves "flower children", whereas political hippies of these days could be called "stinging nettle children", for a comparison. It's all about winning, rebelling, spotting "enemies"—domestic and foreign—and about the sheer joy of being able to shout in a chorus: "Screw you, and screw your facts, I believe what I want!"
"Continuously feeling superior is a characteristic of immaturity."— Eraldo Banovac
Insanity of Superiority Claims
More by the momentum of initial success than by smartness, Trump is inspiring his base with an invincible superiority of America. No wonder he doesn't like talking to his generals, because those guys know all that he is trying to ignore.
Among the main military truisms stands this fact, so known to generals, that wars never look the same at the battlefield as they look in a War Room. Never.
Just look at those 9 years of war with a small country of Vietnam, with 58,000 American soldiers killed, and another 50,000+ committing suicide after the war, haunted and tormented by the trauma of the horrors of that war.
Above everything else, those smart generals deep down know that not another penny should be wasted on military advancement, simply because in this nuclear age it's insane to worry about being attacked by another nuclear biggie.
I know, this statement hits the wall of an established paranoia, but again, we are talking about beliefs, not logic. During the recent uncomfortable situation with North Korea, there was a serious concern over how many of their missiles could be intercepted, and how many could actually reach their targets—before Koreans would "get the taste of their own medicine."
And it's only one "small, but zesty" Korea—however, the simple military truism supported by logic tells us that anybody in a possession of nukes attacking anybody else who possesses nukes would start a suicide mission. So, when Trump said "My button is bigger," many believed him, but it was just another boost to the national military pride that is not based at all on military realities.
Recently Vladimir Putin said half-jokingly: "We have technology to detect when somebody's missile is fired in our direction—with our instant response ready. Then we die and go to heaven as angels—and they just die."
Another Trump's pep-talk had something to do with "blooming American economy." It's not a secret to anybody that the deficit is skyrocketing. For a small comparison, I could also easily impress all my friends with my "prosperous lifestyle" by using up all available limits on my credit cards. But that, I guess, wouldn't count as a good household economy.
Should I mention again my refrain called "unconditional belief", which so perfectly fills all holes with nothing but air?
Besides, allies started looking elsewhere for new alliances, being pressed and blackmailed by tariffs and sanctions—even with some not so secret talks about removing American dollar as international trade currency. Economic self-sufficiency and isolationism are simply a figment of another dream, because in this economic era, international markets are a must of everyone's survival.
Then, on the face value, it's great that unemployment went down, since domestic product is replacing the imported one, and a bigger workforce is needed to do it. But it doesn't take an expert in economy to see that now American consumers are paying more, because American worker will not work for the same pay as Chinese one does, so the cost of production is higher, making the product more expensive.
Also, compensating farmers for their losses in lower exports means printing more money, while making farmers unhappy, since they normally want a market, not a monetary consolation.
These are merely some of many facts connected into logical conclusions, but what I am saying here all along is, that no facts seemingly matter in this impetus of believing.
Apparently, it also doesn't matter one bit that drugs are not really coming into the country on donkeys over the Mexican border, but rather in smart ways hard to detect—so those billions of dollars spent on a wall could be better spent on infrastructure, education, or, how about a sane medical care.
How do I "know" all this?
I don't, but---for sake of a little satirical insert---since it's so easy to be a "stable genius" without ever having to prove it, why wouldn't I pretend to be a top expert in military and economy matters. All I need is to believe it, and make you believe it—facts or not, who cares.
But, could I do it?
No, I can't mess with your minds, simply because I'm missing an impressive nominal status that makes a whole difference in my credibility, like one of a billionaire or a president—or at least one of a renowned professional hypnotist or an illusionist. Instead, I am only a second rate writer for Hub Pages with a very limited readership, so there is nothing "superior" about me that you could possibly buy and believe. How is that for humbleness?
Aside from the fact that I wouldn't even want to sell such a story about myself to anybody. Sanity is good.
For, according to those books on psycho-pathology—who, other than an insecure and inferior person, would need to constantly overcompensate with delusions of a superiority.
Among all others, it certainly wouldn't be some "down-to-earth, stable genius," right?
"Don't blame clown for acting like a clown. Ask yourself why you keep going to the circus."— Zachary Phillips
Now, for a Philosophical Touch
Contrary to the apparent tone of this article so far—this finishing part should be characterized differently with something of an element of surprise in it.
As I announced in its description, this post was not to "take sides", regardless of a possible impression made so far, while I was insisting on logic and facts—with a dash of innocent satire here and there—leaving in shade the value of belief and sentiments it generates.
Now, as little as I want to "invent hot water" here, I like assuming it's my original idea of what I call "universal principle of diversity". From those over 100 different chemical elements composing the material world, to diversities that are individual, national, those in animal and plant worlds—all the way to intellectual, political, and religious.
It's this variety that orchestrates a constant tease and challenge among its elements, ultimately giving the very motorics to everything that happens at any realm, from quantum to interstellar.
In other words, the universe insists on variety, not on uniformity. Not that it excludes a possibility of a harmonious coexistence, but, like that Latin saying goes: "Per aspera ad astra" or, in plain English: "It's a thorny path to the stars."
I'm talking about a drive to oppose, to overcome, not to seek harmonious solutions, in these ever-evolving, contrasting protocols of self-expression. Well, not to completely exclude myself from this game, there were sections of my own path which, in retrospect, don't make me particularly proud. But the path ahead kept stretching into the unknown, with opportunities to change it all—of which I took many.
So, is this Trump-adventure to be taken as "good" or "bad"? How can we tell?
Well, within the mentioned diversity of perspectives, it would depend on who is observing and judging. However, it will definitely unfold into some new phase of national wisdom, no matter how it turns out.
Nations mature, like individuals, and with no absolutes in sight, it will be all about the process of growing, not a goal to be attained, and which would suddenly satisfy everybody.
All along that process, reason and facts will keep crusading against belief which doesn't need facts to exist. Another president will come, and those prone to analyzing will keep finding something wrong—and those prone to believing will love him or her religiously, maybe falling for their charisma, maybe for those carefully chosen words hitting a sensitive spot in their survival arsenal.
So, what should we do? You, Trumpists, stay loyal to yourselves and keep believing, ignore all facts speaking loud—but never loud enough so as to make a dent in your belief. And you analyzers, with minds of logic and facts, keep trying to awaken Trumpists from their trance.
Ultimately, it won't really matter who wins, because as soon as the next president comes around, everybody will, again, display their own affinity to either facts or to loyal believing.
The whole cultural paradigm is based on tensions between heart and mind, because at this level of consciousness evolution we cannot have a model of coexistence that would generate anything else.
Maybe in some new generations ahead, people will reach a stage at which it will come natural for them to junk the idiocies of history with all its antagonisms. And then, in a vision of intellectual biggies like Gregg Braden, they will bridge the gap between mind and heart, bringing to a sync their respective frequencies.
Until then, hey, don't allow anybody, including me, to convince you into believing or thinking what sounds strange and unacceptable at your core.
Keep practicing what you are and what you do—you'll need it for your next president.
© 2020 Val Karas