TRUMPISM IN NATURE
When events are so complex that it's hard to wrap your mind around them, patterns, paradigms and metaphors in Nature can guide us in understanding what's going on. That's because all complex, evolving systems share many features -- such as tending toward ever more efficient use of energy, and ever greater integration and interdependency of ever more diverse parts.
Is there a metaphor in Nature that can help us understand the current situation with US President Trump, and those he has gathered around him?
A central element of the Trump phenomenon is that false, distorted information repeated again and again played a large part in Trump's election. Nature agrees that misinformation is a powerful tool, and often uses it, as when a spider evolves to look like a flower part, so that pollinators tricked by the camouflaged spider get eaten.
Even if the camouflaged spider metaphor is awkward for applying to Trumpism, there's another instance in Nature that comes much closer. That's when information encoded in the genes of an organism's cell becomes corrupted in such a way that it becomes "false information." This false information instructs the cell to unnaturally multiply itself furiously, with all replicated cells behaveing the same way. The growth of the resulting clump of cells is exponential, disrupting activities in surrounding tissue and organs -- its environment -- in many, often lethal, ways.
Of course here we're talking about a cancer. So, how does Nature deal with a cancer?
A healthy body's immune system attacks the cancer. (The current outbreak of protests throughout the US is analogous to an organism's immune system kicking in.) Now what happens? In Nature there are three main outcomes:
- The immune system destroys the cancerous tumor
- The immune system isolates the cancerous tumor, slowing or stopping its growth
- The cancer kills the organism
Just two weeks into the Trump Administration, it's too early to know which of the three scenarios will play out. At this point in our search for guidance, Nature seems to fall mute, but at least She has indicated to us that it is right for a cancer to be resisted, and that resistance can have three possible outcomes.
Where Nature's patterns, paradigms and metaphors leave off, we can look for guidance in history. There, it's easy enough to see what happened the last time a far-right-wing agent gained control of the world's main superpower, rallying its supporters with distorted information repeated again and again, and the scapegoating of minorities.