Skip to main content

The Post-Trump World

Roger Cohen's piece "The Trump Possibility" in The New York Times articulated a list of why it is possible for the world's most powerful nation to elect
a fascist. These included fear, anxiety-multipliers, the crash of 2008 which rigged the global system and granted impunity to an elite, growing inequality, abandonment of the working class, and the perennial folly of blaming those who have the least power.

But is it because we are so impressed with media we cannot see how we are being manipulated into believing that we have elected this man rather than the system presenting the "winner" before the elections?


"We are on the wrong track if we imagine that ideas put forth by political leaders contain, or are intended to contain, some form of “truth”; that ideas correspond to some aspect of “external reality.” The coin of the realm in politics is fantasy: the leader’s ability to express his own fantasies, and to induce or seduce others to share those fantasies. The leader presents ideas that resonate with his audience. His utterances allow followers to externalize inner states of being." writes Richard Koenigsberg in his post Ideology as Shared Fantasy.

I do not know enough about how this works but those in communications and advertising may be familiar with it.  I have mostly felt we are being manipulated by institutions and business who have learned how to work on the most cynical levels of human nature. 

George Orwell's 1984 is an allegory that takes place in the future but based on the horror of fascist societies in Europe, while its victims believed they were willingly driving the fight for freedom.  

Then the fifties and sixties flourished with consumer fashions and we thought we could express who we were with clothes, make-up and cars - the fantasy was about endless stuff.

Now that the economy is rigged to benefit only a few, most of us don't have that opportunity to spend our lives away. 

My current fantasy is that we shall find a way to preserve our water, the environment, and justice - so we won't need to carry placards on the streets forever. How to convince others? Many are already doing it.

The idea that our fantasy is wanting to find its way out is both intriguing and terrifying.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

About Humanity

"A chosen people is the opposite of a master race, first, because it is not a race but a covenant; second because it exists to serve God, not to master others. A master race worships itself, a chosen people worships something beyond itself. A master race believes it has rights; a chosen people knows only that it has responsibilities." Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Not in God's Name, Schocken, New York. 2015.

As someone who does not identify as a chosen people or part of a master race, I ruminate about how to respond to the world, particularly that part of the world I cannot endorse. So I am comforted by the people who have taken on ministry and who feel responsible enough to care for community.

How do I act on a feeling of responsibility without assuming that I know what other people should do, or what we should do? It's very easy to slip into a political preaching that suggests I know, or that my being a good example means that others should follow it. Or worse yet, create…

Creating Chaos

A very important article in The Guardian analyses the rise of hyper-masculinity and the phenomenon of Angry White Men.  "Sociologist Michael Kimmel is one of the world’s foremost experts on the phenomenon. - His recent research has looked at topics including spree killers (who are overwhelmingly male and white), as well as the relationship between masculinity and political extremism."

In the article there is a report on a study on testosterone where 5 monkeys are observed. The one who rises to the top beats up number 2 and number 2 beats up number 3 - and so it goes down to number 5. 

"So the experiment is: he takes monkey three out of the cage and he shoots him up with testosterone, off the scale, and puts him back in. What do you think happens? When I tell this story my students always guess that he immediately becomes number-one monkey. But that’s not true. What happens is that when he goes back in the cage he still avoids monkeys number one and two – but he beats the …

Albert Camus: Our task