Yesterday I delivered a podcast about "Why Donald J. Trump Maybe The Most Important Man In The World Right Now (and Why That Doesn't Matter At All)" [https://www.patreon.com/posts/podcast-replay-j-17417399].
In that podcast I spoke about a deep shift in the culture on a global level, and why Donald Trump's presidency may be an essential driver in moving forward to the next level of cultural values that are emerging in many of the most industrialized and modern nations in the world.
Humans seem to be uniquely wired to notice patterns ... even when they don't exist. Think about the millions of conspiracy theories circulating at any given moment. A Google search I did just moment ago showed almost six million hits for "conspiracy theories" (From the Google search page: About 5,900,000 results (0.42 seconds)).
I can point to several major recent conspiracy theories just here in the United States where I live:
- The 9/11 al-Qaeda attacks, high-level U.S. government officials had advance knowledge of the attacks and did nothing about it
- Barack Obama citizenship, Obama was ineligible to be President of the United States because he was not a natural-born citizen of the United States as required by Article Two of the U.S. Constitution
-Donald Trump Russian collusion, Trump knowingly and secretly colluded with the Russians to win the election
Yet here's what we have about the last one of these above, Donald Trump Russian collusion, so far for example:
Special Counsel Robert Muller's indictment did not allege that Trump’s team had knowingly colluded, only that Russian operatives “communicated with unwitting individuals associated with the Trump campaign”. (Source: The Guardian, Edward Helmore, 19 February 2018, 15.49 EST)
And, this from an LA Times headline: Let's get real: Trump is no mastermind. Secretly colluding with Russia isn't in his skill set (Source: LA Times, Jonah Goldberg, 20 Feb 2018, 4:10 AM)
One of the things that all conspiracy theories have in common, is the tendency to "build the story in reverse" by finding and apply patterns to explain the evidence at hand. This is called inference when we're being polite about it, and conjecture and speculation when we're being less polite.
Yet, we are all guilty of creating stories out of patterns we think we've found:
A young girl is lying in bed, her eyes slowly open as she wakes up slowly.
An older man, his hat down over his eyes, is standing beneath a tree looking up at the window of a house.
Dogs begin barking loudly at the rattle of a front door handle being tried.
A car passes by and a young girl looks out of her window at the street, clothed only in a sheer nightshirt ...
I bet you're making up a story, aren't you. Yet I can argue that these sentences are not connected at all. Each fully capable of standing alone on their own, and yet I'm betting that you've found a way to fill in the gaps to make a coherent story out of them, even creating a visual tableau or mini-movie in your mind.
This human trait of making up stories to make sense of the evidence at hand, regardless of how unconnected or incomplete, is unavoidable. Yet the framework for the stories we create are based in strong cultural currents.
Each of us is swept up by currents of culture. Which particular current we find ourselves swimming in creates a different framework and lens that will shape the stories we tell ourselves and others. We are most attracted to the current that most closely matches the story we believe, regardless of whether that current accurately reflects what's happened or is happening.
Is the story you made up from my four sentences above about a horrible sexual crime about to happen?
Or possibly about a daughter that has an estranged father she's never known, who's now come back to reconnect with her?
And, it could be about two different girls, one waking up and one looking out of a window, and the next door neighbor's house is about to be broken into to gather the evidence in a political conspiracy that brings the two girls together to uncover the political crime.
Do you see how your personal beliefs will shape the story you confabulate and the one that seems most natural, and makes the most sense, to you?
What's most important to us is whether the story we are hearing and paying attention to matches the beliefs we've already internalized, making the story being told plausible and believable to us. Those who know this about how humans process information, and use it with an agenda, are masters of weaponized storytelling.
For the wielders of the weapons of inflection in the mass media and beyond Donald J. Trump's presidency is just the background of shaping the story they want to tell ... and, the one they want to have you believe.
Isn't it about time you take back control of your mind?
Joseph Riggio, Ph.D.
Architect & Designer of the MythoSelf Process and SomaSemantics
[For more about the background to the Donald Trump Presidency story, and that that might mean about where it's taking us, become a patron and listen to my most recent podcast here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/podcast-replay-j-17417399]