The Enlightened Use of Donald Trump

How to turn Trump into a useful symbol of nature’s inhumanity

Image by Robert Lukeman, from Unsplash

It’s easy to feel victimized by Donald Trump. Here’s a malignant narcissist who’s theoretically the world’s most powerful man, who views every situation as zero sum and who has contempt for losers and especially for anyone who doesn’t respect what he considers to be his magnificence, even though he’s far from being a self-made winner.

As president, Trump is perfectly positioned to wipe his behind with the Constitution of the United States and to piss on America’s grave, which he does at every opportunity, figuratively speaking. Most gallingly, he’s the beneficiary of the dark miracle of escaping any comeuppance for his innumerable debacles. Assuming there are little gremlins out there perpetrating that miracle, one of those critters is Trump’s incapacity for feeling shame. Is there anyone on the planet more deserving to feel embarrassed for what he is and for what he’s done, who’s simultaneously the least capable of such principled suffering?

Assuming, then, you’re an ordinary person, more or less struggling to get by, burdened by a conscience and with a normal, sometimes debilitating degree of self-awareness, President Trump has nothing but contempt for you. You’re a loser in his eyes. At best, you or I would be a mark that falls for his shtick and his cons or an insignificant foe whose rhetorical attacks he could brush off as signs of our envy of his power and fame.

The spectacle of Trump ascendant is an appalling altar to every demon that walks the earth and tricks us into succumbing to all varieties of vice. Trump is a masterful sinner. You plop him into an environment, be it the real estate business, reality TV stardom, or the White House, and like an evil perpetual motion machine, he’ll find new ways of degrading that world and of revolting everyone of good faith.

The only question that matters in the long run with respect to Trump’s presidency is whether we’re all doomed to be his victims. Is there no honourable recourse? No way to retrieve our dignity and vindicate human nature in light of the damage done by his diabolical desecrations?

The Malignant Narcissist as Symbol of Nature’s Inhumanity

Not only is there a way we can all begin to combat this force of darkness, but we have practically a Zoroastrian obligation to do so. The technique is simple: reverse Trump’s sociopathic exploitations, by using his monstrosity for an existentially-elevated purpose.

Specifically, we’re all obliged to appreciate the symbolic power of Trump’s life that culminated in the abomination of his anti-presidency. Donald Trump is a sublime figure in that he represents the overwhelming, inhuman power of nature which can all-too-easily flood our designs, bringing them to ruin as a result of what used to be called a disastrous “act of God.”

If floods, draughts, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, and viruses were acts of God, at least we could take comfort in presuming they serve a greater purpose. Instead, these natural catastrophes are mindless and amoral — just like Donald Trump or like anyone else who’s allowed himself to be so ravaged by personality disorders that he’s no longer recognizable as psychologically human. A squid monster from Zeta Reticuli couldn’t think and feel in a more alien fashion than Trump or than any other grotesque psychopathic narcissist.

This kind of inhuman supervillain serves as an avatar of nature’s monstrosity. This is the same monstrosity of the wilderness we’ve assiduously blotted out over the millennia with our creative efforts. But the universe is obviously much more powerful than even the collective might of our species, and nature often bursts into our artificial refuges, unannounced and unwanted, not just with disasters but with randomness, chaos, and chance. Nature’s indifference is aided by traitors to the human cause, by quasihuman vessels of amorality, foremost among which presently is President Trump.

Exploiting Trump as an Awe-inspiring Talisman

Here, then, is the rebel’s battle tactic, the existential call to arms. When you see Trump on TV or read about his abuses of power, don’t let your disgust go to waste. Be sure to marvel at the sublime majesty of the cosmos which overwhelmed Trump’s soul decades ago the way it will overwhelm each of us if only at our death, and just as natural forces will one day extinguish our species and all of our works.

Take care to be awed by the wonder and the terror of such an inhuman man. Venerating Trump with his cultists isn’t entirely wrongheaded. Technically, mind you, there’s no one there to worship or to oppose, since he’s effectively a hollow shell, a puppet animated by his mental disorders and by various manipulators, including Steve Bannon, Mitch McConnell, and the “basket of deplorables.” A psychopath is only half a person, because his or her emotional capacities are so limited.

Trump the shell, the vessel, or the puppet is still precious as a talisman for inspiring awe. Instead of being used by Trump, giving him the attention he craves and feeding his gargantuan vices, we should be using Trump’s psychological and moral emptiness as an opportunity to meditate on the forces that work through him.

Trump stands for nature triumphant over the human potential for creative transcendence. Nature triumphed over Trump, turning him into a monstrous calculator of selfish advantage, a destructive agent of chaos like a baffling cross between the Joker and Forest Gump. Nature triumphs over us through Trump, since he makes us all his direct or indirect victims. We begin to resist that dynamic by acknowledging it and by marveling at the scale of cosmic monstrosity that sprawls before us, like the proverbial dragon the knight’s supposed to slay.

Our possible destiny, prophesied by transhumanists and heralds of the technological singularity is to conquer nature’s inhumanity by filling the wilderness with noble meaning and purpose that program our godlike creations. Until that far-off age of human godhood arrives, we’re only vain playthings of nature, like the Sorcerer’s apprentice. We’re beginning to enlighten ourselves with science and philosophy, but we’re rarely fully committed to the existential enterprise of literally transforming our kind into something else, something anti-natural (virtually supernatural).

Let’s exploit Trump, then, and all other inhuman supervillains, by using them as symbols to inspire our more concrete acts of creative resistance. Don’t just insult or demonize these horrors, but use them as tools to ennoble us with the awe their monstrousness deserves. No more idle disgust! Let’s at least summon the motivation to slay the greater dragon; let’s harness the empty vessels, extracting astonishment from their travesties and fiascos, and using that wonder and terror to fire our imaginations.

Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.

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