Why Trump might have been the best thing that could happen to humanity

We are in the middle of a fundamental change of thinking. When this change began is hard to say, strong signals can already be found in the 60s or 70s of the last century. Thoughts and ideas that shape a society grow slowly, so slowly that they cannot be heard out of the noise of the time; only when you look at large periods of time can they be recognized.

It is like looking at a river. If you look at the movement of – let’s say – seven billion water molecules at one point in a river, it might be a lot, but it is still impossible to tell in which direction the river flows. It is quite possible that you are looking at a whirl that is moving against the actual direction of the river. This is not only possible, but to a certain degree probable. Only if you extend the time span of the observation and measure the position of the molecules again at a sufficiently large later time, you have a chance at all to recognize in which direction the river flows.

Societies are slow flowing rivers. So slow that one has to look at decades to be able to make a reasonably reliable statement about the direction in which they move.

The swing that occurred in the election of Obama began long before Obama. A giant pendulum had changed direction. And then Obama came along, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and almost nothing changed. The wars that the USA waged were continued, the health care reform was more of a small reform, and the class differences continued to grow. I can still remember a conversation with friends who had placed great hope in the election of Obama and were bitterly disappointed that even after years ‘everything had remained the same’. The conversation took place towards the end of Obama’s second term before the election campaign for his successor (Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump) had begun in the United States. It was the time before Trump and the height of frustration with Obama. (The trigger for the conversation was a text that I had written at that time.)

Then came Trump. The stupidest political accident to be assumed.Trump rode a wave of populism that was felt not only in the USA, but also in Great Britain, Brazil, Poland and even in Germany. The populism came at a time when there were no really major current crises. No major crises? By ‘major crisis’ I mean a crisis that cannot be solved by money.

Most problems revolve around money or can supposedly be solved with money. The financial crisis (from 2008) was one such problem, and to a certain extent the migration crisis as well. Looking at problems primarily from one point of view (usually that of money) is almost always unsustainable, but if they succeed in convincing the audience, the hour of the populists strikes.

There are problems that cannot be solved with money. Climate change is one such problem, and more recently: Corona. Climate change or corona are complex problems. All the money in the world alone cannot solve these problems.

Populist systems act suboptimally when faced with such problems – they come to stupid decisions. It is as if, fixated on money, they do not find the right levers to act meaningfully.

Non-populist systems are more effective here. A boring Angela Merkel is better suited to tackle complex problems than an exciting and excited Donald Trump.

Trump, Bolsonaro, Orbán, Johnson, Macron, Trudeau, Merkel. The less populist the better the performance in a real crisis. In the case of Corona this can be seen in the numbers.

The fundamental change that has been going on for decades is the shift towards multi-perspective. Approaching problems from multiple perspectives is more sustainable and, for a certain type of problem (the real or complex problems), the only promising way. The counterpart to the multi-perspective approach is the mono-perspective approach (“you just have to do it right” – whatever ‘right’ might be).

Societies are becoming more multi-perspective, and thus more tolerant, more complex and cleverer, because they are learning to consider many and more perspectives. This is the direction in which the river flows. And it can hardly be overlooked, if you take a sufficiently large time frame into account (50 years +).

Never all water molecules of a river flow at the same time in the same direction. Whirls and counter-movements are normal, especially when the river flows relatively fast.

Trump will have been such a whirl. Trump stands for old, traditional thinking. It is the thinking of the monoperspektive, of which one must do the ‘right thing’. If the audience thinks that way, they need someone to express in simple words what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’. Trump has fulfilled this function. That’s why he was so attractive to many and still is for many. Someone who knows what’s right and wrong doesn’t need experts or consultants to broaden the view. Trump is an animal of old thinking, a dinosaur that rebels up once more but is already doomed.

In the United States, not only the Democratic Party but all more or less multi-perspective forces have renewed themselves from scratch in the last four years. New coalitions with conservatives ( -> Lincoln Project ) are emerging, but not with the “you have to do it right” faction on the left.

Monopersective thinking is found everywhere in the political spectrum, but increasingly on the margins – on the right as well as on the left.

Trump was good for the innovation of thinking towards multi-perspective thinking, it was not his intention but it was his function. The new thinking, it would have come anyway. After Trump, it is now coming all the faster.

This is what I see.

It’s not about politics

It was the strangest president ever. A president who didn’t talk politics. Who instead flaunted himself, bragging about what he had and what he was capable of. Like a child playing king, constantly explaining to the audience what a king is and what a king is allowed to do. A spiteful child who calls those who don’t want to play with him the others and has only bad words for them. A child who calls out the others with a screaming voice, for what he constantly does himself.

It was a president who exaggerated even the most banal issues until there seemed to be only two options left. Like pretending that a race of many runners is just a fight between two. And as if the audience then had to decide which of the two they had to team up with.

How did this devil manage to bewitch so many people in such a way? That they elected a television character as president, who then made being president a television spectacle? A president who only pretended to be president and measured his success in television ratings?

The people made a prey out of themselves when they began to distrust politicians on principle. The people did not want a politician and chose a clown instead. The clown sat in the cockpit with a pilot’s cap, had no idea about flying and didn’t even show a spark of interest in wanting to learn. It was a president who could not distinguish the spectacle from reality, for whom reality and fiction were one and the same.

The president severely damaged the boundaries between reality and fiction. Like two liquids flowing into each other, it soon became impossible to tell what is true and what is false. It was as if fresh and waste water flowed into each other and made society ill.

It is necessary to investigate exactly how this accident could have happened, so that it cannot happen again in the future. It was always a foolish idea to hand the scepter to the fool. In this day and age, with the weapons of destruction at the disposal of the powerful, it can be deadly – for all of humanity. It looks like we got away with it again. We’ve been damn lucky.

Questions

“Does as much power come out of a wall socket as comes out of a computer charger?” That’s what my therapist wants to know. I start to explain, talk about voltage and amperage. Actually I don’t know much about electricity, I never understood that in school.

If I didn’t understand it, why didn’t I ask my teachers, the therapist wants to know.

“An excellent question!” I answer, to get some time to think. “Well, the teachers explained it, on top of that it was in the textbooks, but I still didn’t understand it. It never occurred to me to ask, I thought that the teachers would only think I was stupid. In a way I was, because I didn’t know how this electricity thing worked… And I was lazy, too, I skimmed the texts in the schoolbooks, always convinced that I wouldn’t understand them anyway. You got points if you gave correct answers. Questions, however, were not rewarded. I always had the impression that questions annoyed teachers, because they were questions about things they had already explained. Today I think that maybe the questions annoyed the teachers because they took the questions as an allegation that they had not explained it properly. And so I learned to please the teachers by not asking stupid questions and I learned how to get points by pretending to understand.

“It’s all about you in your mind,” my therapist said, and it took me quite a while to understand.

Already at school I was very busy thinking about how others see me. Instead of learning, I kept my mind busy making predictions about what my teachers would think of me. I was quite afraid to embarrass myself. And so I was so occupied with myself that I forgot to ask questions.

Fools have a clear opinion

There was a time when a fool was one who didn’t care. The one who lay on the sofa and let God be a good man. “Let the monkeys in the capital decide that, I’m too stupid for that”, is a sentence that I remember from that time.

Today, fools are distinguished by the fact that they have a very clear opinion even on the most complicated subjects. “It’s obvious that… ” is a typical beginning of a sentence, by which you can recognize the modern fool. Modern fools are also tireless in stressing that what they say must not be said, especially not in the media. At the same time, the media constantly reports what the fools think, what the fools say, and there is speculation as to what the fools do might lead to.

In the past, when not so much attention was paid to fools, fools seemed to be quite good-humored contemporaries. When you looked at them, they seemed satisfied, as if they could get something good out of the situation they were in. Modern fools, on the other hand, have faces distorted with rage. They rant and scream and insult those who put microphones in their face. The fools claim that those with microphones are only lying anyway and are also puppets. This is another such foolish image, because puppets cannot lie, if they do, then the puppeteer is lying, or else we are in a fairy tale, in a story in which everything comes down to one goal, in which everything is a great conspiracy.

Fools can be recognized by the words they use when they tell their story about the world. Fools always exaggerate, they say ‘always’ instead of ‘often’, ‘all’ instead of ‘many’, they say ‘the people’ instead of ‘we’.

The sentences of the fools are full of terms like ‘the problem is’, ‘to be honest’, ‘things are not as simple as they seem’, ‘Hillary’, ‘Benghazi’, ‘Obama’, ‘dems’, ‘islamists’, ‘open borders’, ‘liberals’, ‘jihadist’, ‘muslims’, ‘killed’, ‘I am not saying’, ‘tyranny’, ‘globe’, ‘reputation’, ‘folks’, ‘I am trying very hard to not be a cynic’, ‘this are just a bunch of people trying to’, ‘cover up’, ‘I am certainly not’, ‘any of this’, ‘I have not heard anybody say’, ‘anything remotely’, ‘lip service’, ‘exercise’, ‘Washington has become’, ‘the only reason’, ‘the biggest mistake we can make’, ‘but I think’, ‘on the record’, ‘he was on MSNBC last night’, ‘by that I mean’, ‘the virtues’, ‘the people of America’, ‘the country’, ‘needless mistake’, ‘the truth’, ‘America needs to hear’, ‘ the ruination’, ‘this country’, ‘you can say good bye’, ‘if they prevail’, ‘this nation’, ‘constitutional republic’, ‘there is always’, ‘but’, ‘(you can not) watch this’, ‘the world’s greatest economy’, ‘purposefully destroyed’, ‘what this country was’, ‘now they are making’, ‘I warned you’, ‘this was coming’, ‘close to the point in time’, ‘they think’, ‘the government’, ‘everybody’, ‘seriously pushing it out’, ‘I am telling you’, ‘all of these experts’, ‘policies and wishes’, ‘take a look’, ‘people are getting restless’, ‘this is seen as an opportunity to finally archive their objectives’, ‘I can’t believe it is that close’, ‘they are openly advocating’, ‘all of this’, ‘actually correct’, ‘the media’, ‘anything’, ‘accomplished’, ‘I can’t imagine’, ‘the average ordinary American citizen watching this’, ‘somebody in the American military’, ‘believe’, ‘out of control’ ‘bureaucracy on steroids’, ‘areas of so-called expertise’ etc.

The fools speak of systems as if they were people ‘the global financial system commands’ and attribute will to the systems, as if there were someone who could speak with one voice. The system-persona follows an evil plan, which the fools have made it their business to uncover. Much like the hero of a film who realizes earlier than the others what the plot of the story is – the goal that everything boils down to. And as in the film, nothing is random, every detail has meaning in the struggle between good and evil.

The fools overlook the fact that the world is not a film. The world is infinitely more complex than any story. Humans have invented stories to simplify the complicated world. The fool confuses the world with the stories he tells himself.

If only the fool would at least be happy. But the fool is beside himself with rage. He tells himself the world in stories but it doesn’t work at all. You’d think the fool would give up, get back on the sofa and let God be a good man. Maybe someday it might even happen. But right now, it doesn’t look like it. The fools are getting more and more nervous, because the world does not stick to any plan and the fools get surprised again and again. It’s as if the system person is always conjuring up a new twist out of a hat. This strengthens the fools even more in their belief that they are dealing with a particularly powerful opponent. Yet the world is only what it has always been: complex.