Candidate Trump and the New Normal
As y0u know, I’m a collector of references to “the new normal”. Some people collect butterflies, some people collect stamps, some people collect coins, I collect references to the “new normal”. Whenever I read a reference to “the new normal”, I get as giddy as an entomologist who has discovered a new species of insect.
If you followed my earlier postings on the new normal, you will also know that I consider it a clear indicator to Gebser’s anticipated disintegration of the mental-rational consciousness and personality structure of Late Modern Man — the normalisation of what is, actually, a very abnormal and aberrant situation. I won’t review the developmental history of the new normal again, but only point out that one of its characteristics is the normalisation of duplicity in all its forms — what I’ve called our “four riders of the apocalypse” as Double-Think, Double-Talk, Double-Standard, and Double-Bind. These are the symptoms of that disintegration. And another way of talking about the “new normal” is in terms of the eruption of chaotic emotion.
Candidate Trump is the candidate of the new normal, and as such the candidate of chaotic emotion.
While the chief objective symptoms of the breakdown of the mental-rational consciousness are, as I’ve stated, the proliferation of unintended consequence, perverse outcome, revenge effect, ironic reversal, and blowback (basically, all the same issue of enantiodromia). These are the classical symptoms of hybris follwed by Nemesis. But what we call “chaotic transition” (or Peter Pogany’s “havoc”) is very much more an issue of chaotic emotion. That is to be anticipated as the chief subjective symptom of the increasing “deficiency” of the mental-rational or perspectival consciousness.
It is fortuitous, in that respect, that Nature published a research article recently that clearly showed the role of subjective states of emotion or feeling in the nurturance or sustainability of ecosystems. By extension, this also applies to social organisation and order. It’s an appropriate segue to this discussion of Trump, the “new normal”, and chaotic emotion.
Everyone, it seems, is quite baffled and perplexed by the success of Trump’s campaign — it’s muddle-headedness, it’s lack of any intelligible or articulate social policy or ideology. “A cauldron of the baser instincts of humanity” as Guardian journalist Dave Schilling referred to it. But apart from its core faith in the potency of competitive egoism (getting “greedy for America” and that grabbing is winning) it’s really quite futile to look for anything like a coherent ideology in Trump’s campaign. There are no ideas and no reason because Trump is the candidate of chaotic emotion. Chaotic emotion is chaotic because it has no guidance provided by the faculty of reason, or “the enlightened ego consciousness”. More to the point, since the “end of the Grand Narrative”, there is no coherent mythos to provide constructive guidance to emotion.
The evident inarticulacy and incoherence of the statements of Trump’s supporters (and I’ve read quite a few head-scratchers) are not unintelligible as expressions of chaotic emotion, so that “fun and exciting” is all tangled up with fear, anxiety, paranoia, insecurity, hatred and resentment and so on. I suppose you could say that, in Blakean terms, the Zoa Luvah (who is the passions) is at war with the Zoa Urizen (who is rationality).
Affective disorders, or chaotic emotions, is one of those consequences of Nietzsche’s “death of God” and his “two centuries of nihilism”, and until a new pattern is disclosed for the effective expression of the affective, this mad, mad world will continue on its course, “ambling towards the abyss” as Iain McGilchrist put it in The Master and his Emissary. Indeed, what we call “God”, even as “Universal Reason”, provides the pattern for the appropriate or inappropriate expression of the passions and affects, which was referred to as the “moral compass”.
Affective disorders are the world’s present insanity, and one can say that “chaotic transition” is an outward marker for this inner chaos of the affects. Even the words “effect” and “affect”, or effective and affective, are connected for an implicit reason. Until there is a new mythos to provide the new pattern, the chaos of affects and effects will continue and likely become even more chaotic.