This Blog is about the three levels of motivation that have been laid down since primates started evolving groups about 52-million-years ago, and this post is about how Donald Trump fits into them.
- The deepest level is the ancient motivation for (sexual) domination in a hierarchy.
- Then, pushed by harsh climates and the threat of extinction six-million-years ago, our hominin “tribe” was born by means of a shift in the target of natural selection from the individual drive for dominance to the collective demand for justice. Justice has been sustained by natural selection to suppress individual dominance because it permitted the progressive evolution of the coordination of divided labor, which has always been, and continues to be our principle adaptation.
- Finally, in us Homo sapiens, the refined residue of the ancient collective consciousness of our ancestors has become subsumed beneath a newly evolved, brightly conscious motivation to elicit the love of others. In its pure form, this modern human motivation is highly sexual, narcissistic, and commonly known as vanity. In order to understand why we evolved vanity, you must think in more general terms as having acquired an intense desire for one another, one which has relentlessly drawn us together into ever larger groups. At each and every step, the centripetal force of our desire is viciously resisted by the reawakening of our long-suppressed drive for ape-dominance (tribalism & war). However, over the long haul, those aggregating groups that establish our ancestral codes of justice always out-procreate those that do not. Why?
Justice begets bounty because bounty begot justice
So now we contemplate how Donald Trump fits into all of this. Trump himself seems to be driven by a near “pure culture” of intensely sexual vanity. Although there is not the malignant dominance-aggression of a tyrant, he appeals to retribution, and, most troubling, is an inability to express the transcendent passion for justice that is the most human of all sentiments.
But then again, his vanity has served its evolutionary function: he has brought the people who voted for him together. And, if there is truth in the verdicts of democracy, his election has revealed that authentic injustices have been inflicted upon those attracted to him. . . . particularly by free trade policies.
The Blog holds that our legacy as a species is to establish justice here on earth. It remains to be seen whether this new president has the capacity to stir us toward our destiny.