Here Thar Be Monsters!

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20.1.17

T-Day Arrives

Some time around midnight West Indonesia Time (WIB), Donald Trump will recite the time-honored and Constitutionally required Oath of Office and receive the keys to the White House.

To say that this will be a momentous occasion would not be hyperbole, nor would it be original, since a great many people have already said it intending a great many interpretations.  The spectrum of expectations range from Apocalypse to New Atlantis and the Second Renaissance.

I try to avoid expectations so as to not color my perceptions of what is actually happening in the world.  I am certainly excited to see history unfolding, since I have long anticipated the collapse of the post-WW2 World Order and the rise of Something Else.  What that "else" will be remains to be seen, though.  There are many competing forces trying to grab the wheel and steer the next century or so.

As if to mark the event, both George and Barbara Bush went into the hospital and an unexploded German bomb was found at the bottom of the Thames in central London - fitting metaphors for the changing of the guard.

A century ago, the world was transitioning to motor cars and electricity.  A radical new device called the "telephone" was in its infancy.  Wireless radio broadcasting was just six years old in public use.  That world was changing radically when Woodrow Wilson took his second Oath of Office as America's 28th president.

As Trump takes the helm of a fading empire, the world is transitioning from analog to digital communications, most people under 30 years old can't write a letter much less explain what a postage stamp is, humanity is pondering becoming a multi-planet species (if it isn't already), and Artificial Intelligence is quickly revolutionizing the very core of civilization.

That's quite a leap for a span of time where there are still a number of people who remember when telephones were an amazing contraption and not a vital part of daily life (not to mention a major pain in the ass).

At this point, I don't believe any leader, much less Donald Trump, has any idea where things are headed, any more than I believe Woodrow Wilson had any idea that the "War to End All Wars" would be the cause of a bigger and more devastating war.  Unfortunately, he died before he could taste the bitter fruits of his actions.

Wilson is a fine example of people having "future blindness."  They project their hopes and desires onto generations whose lives will be vastly different from their own.  This often leads to the now-infamous "unintended consequences' of myth and legend.  As any sailor or swimmer can tell you, it is far better to ride the currents than to try and change them.

Far too often, people with "visions" get into positions of influence who then proceed to change the currents.  When they do, they make two mistakes: 1) they establish lofty expectations that frequently end in disappointment and disaster, and 2) they rarely let the course of Nature find its native equilibrium.  As anyone who has studied history or chemistry knows, whenever systems get out of equilibrium, there is usually a violent backlash to the center, which is precisely what led us to today and the inauguration of Donald Trump.

The biggest question, at least in my admittedly muddled mind, is whether Trump will try to change the current, or will he wisely steer a course down the point of equilibrium?

A metaphor often applied to social currents is the pendulum.  There is one fundamental flaw with the common conception of this model, however.  Most people think of a pendulum as only swinging back and forth between two points - i.e. the left-right paradigm.

If you've ever observed a free-swinging pendulum, you know that within 24 hours, it will complete a full circle, having passed through 360 points along the way.  When I conceive of social currents, I don't limit them to just two points, I see a full spectrum of possibilities, which all will - at some point or another - express themselves in order to maintain the equilibrium, which for a pendulum is dead center of the circle.

True and effective leaders balance all the points, not just swing from one extreme to the other.  Unfortunately, I believe Trump is the latter.  He is the symptom, the result of having a very limited conception of the spectrum of possibilities.  Having suffered for decades under the left-wing side of the swing, the US is now violently shifting to the other.  If we envision this as a boat listing hard to one side, then everyone is running to the other to try and balance it.  The result, though, is for the ship to list hard to the opposite side, rather than righting itself.  The process repeats endlessly until either the passengers realize the balance is in the center, or until the ship capsizes to one side or the other.

It is a tedious and boring process because there is no progress, just a lot of running back and forth.  Balance is never achieved long enough to consider where the ship is headed.  Instead, the entire societal focus in on achieving an even keel through the use of imbalances, and it will never work.

One does not cure injustice with another injustice.  One does not end racism by offsetting it with a different flavor of racism.  Most importantly, one does not change things by beating everyone about the head and neck with a rubber truncheon until the world submits.

Balance is achieved by letting everyone do what it is that makes them happy, as long as they allow others the same courtesy and don't harm others in the process.  There are far too many competing interests in the world - a full 360 degrees of them - to allow any one group a bit more freedom than another.

If Trump is a wise leader, he will get rid of mass surveillance, put an end to "hate" laws, stop caving in to every whim of the LGBTQ mafia, and get folks to realize that murder is murder, assault is assault, and injury is injury, no matter what adjectives one strings in front of their personal noun.

Economic balance is achieved by reducing anti-competitive regulations and giving everyone a fair shot at the prize.

Harmony is when everyone agrees to the same set of rules and then abides by them.