It has become an article of faith in our version of a civilized and evolved society that violence is a bad thing. We teach our children that violence should be eschewed in any uncontrolled environment- meanwhile we promote the hell out of it in organized, formalized, ritualistic social events: from our preferred sporting events to our most popular feature films and video games. Our cultural contradictions are so extreme that we suspend children from school over the use of certain words, but we allow those same children to play video games with graphic images of murder and mutilation.
But violence is one of the greatest teachers in all of human psychology. It is by far the most dangerous, but it plays a role that is unique in that only through expressions of violence do we learn instantly and with absolute certainty about the impact of our will on another person- or the impact of another person’s will on us. That is crucial insight and exposure for a human beings’ social and emotional evolution. Without some notable exposure to violence- specifically during our developmental stages of life, a human being is going to be unable to fully appreciate the force of his or her own will on a primal level. And it will be nearly impossible for them to make any practical assessment of others. You can wind up with THIS dangerous and unfortunate dynamic to disastrous affect:
And make no mistake about it: that can create blind spots in their perceptions that are the size of the truck you just stepped in front of because you were not watching where you were walking.
To be clear, this defense of the role of violence in human development does not extend to nor include spanking kids. In this context and by technical definition, that does not qualify as violence. And while my personal preference has been to spare the rod, all of us rod-sparers find our inner Ike Turner when we see our 5 year old go darting into the street and we feel that panic and urgency of the moment kick in. So clearly, even those of us in that camp understand that spanking can play a critical teaching role during child development.
But the violence that is the topic here is different- this is violence between peers that have become adversaries in some social context. Not competitors in the context of a sport or a game (although there can be some value in that experience in context), but combatants that have felt personally challenged, threatened, or aggrieved to the point that they were ready to take it out of the offender’s ass. That is where the value of violence really shows up. There is a level of self-awareness that can only be reached when you are in the full throes of fierce physical combat: The surge of adrenaline powering you, the survival instinct overtaking your conscious mind, the recognition of your capacity to withstand the unmasked malevolence of others- all only exists in a fight in an uncontrolled environment.
Many people mistake the force of their opinions and their feeling for this incredibly empowering albeit painful experience. Many of them find out eventually that their bluster and chest pounding is a rouse that will prove meaningless should reality ever drop by for a visit.
This is where the central theory of this piece appears: Donald Trump is the asshole that he is today because in addition to being spoiled, pampered and privileged beyond imagination, he never had a fist-fight in his life. Despite his obvious propensity for shooting off his mouth to anyone, anytime, anywhere, he has never been punched squarely in that mouth no matter how badly he deserved it. This guy needed a ferocious ass-kicking somewhere in his teen-age years but he didn’t get it because of who his father was and the plastic-bubble/cocoon experience he grew up in.
To this guy, a “fight” is really just an argument- words flying back and forth. A “fight” has nothing to do with fists for Donald Trump and so by the time he reached the age where even the possibility of having to stand toe-to-toe with another man and go blow-for-blow until somebody gets the satisfaction they are looking for it was too late. His delusion that he was a tough guy had hardened and so he truly believes that his punk-ass is a model of manhood and masculinity- even know with his child-bearing hips and B-cup man-boobs.
There is a point- usually somewhere in the mid 20’s- where our intellectual cache and emotional control has built up to the point where a sudden explosion of violence is unlikely unless we are defending ourselves or others from a criminal attack of some kind. But prior to reaching that stage of development, all bets are off. And Donald missed that part of development and so we have what we have. A presence that mistakes hard words for a hard constitution; a presence who has little appreciation for the cost and consequence of the words that he speaks; a presence who is prepared to discount accountability for his own words while making the words of others an absolute referendum on who they are.
It is not hard to see that these attributes make for a dysfunctional personality and most certainly make for a dysfunctional presidency. Just think: one good thrashing for a loud-mouthed, self-obsessed, daddy-protected, fake tough guy 16 year old prep school punk in the 1963 could have saved the world from being turned upside down in 2017.
∞ Thanks for checking in- Do your thing today and I’ll see you tomorrow π