Impulsive

Of all the qualities the president-elect has shown to us I think the most disturbing is his impulsiveness. I gather that this word means the tendency to act quickly without forethought — as we do in stores when we see something we don’t really need but it looks enticing. So we buy it.  This man shows every sign of being impulsive to a very high degree.

How does this fit in with the analysis I posted the other day, standing as I did on the shoulders of Arthur Schopenhauer? I have thought about this and it fits perfectly. The man of dominant will, the man who exhibits a diminished intellectual capacity, is likely to act on impulse. His intellect is completely at the service of his will: it simply shows him the way to achieve the ends he wants, it provides motivation. Period. His intellect lacks imagination and the ability to abstract from immediate experience; he has scattered ideas but lacks ideation. Impulse is the embodiment of this sort of behavior: immersed in the present, we simply grab what we want without giving it a thought.

Let us imagine that such a person is a TV personality who wants to improve his ratings and also to make sure he will get a great deal more money from the network bosses. Let us suppose further that this man decides that running for president will do the trick. He doesn’t think it through, indeed he CAN’T think it through. He doesn’t really know what the presidency involves and he has no idea what the Constitution of his country allows the president to do and what restraints it puts on that office. But he knows he wants to make the run. And in doing so he perceives around him an alarming degree of discontent and even anger and hatred on the part of a great many people toward those, like himself, who are wealthy and who have much bigger slices of the pie.

This man is clever and he realizes that his bid for success in the presidential race necessitates posing as one of those angry folks and encouraging their basest wishes — which are in many respects like his own. He is a super salesman: he has been selling himself for years and he knows how to play that game. (I never said this man was stupid. I simply said that his intelligence is totally in the service of his will). His will is very strong indeed, and has always shown him the way to achieve what he has gone after; and as his success increases his will becomes even stronger, much like a spoiled child.

Along with his impulsiveness, which leads him to say and do things he has not thought through, we discover in this man a tendency to react strongly to criticism and observations from others who oppose this will. Impulsively, he strikes out at those people, calling them names and threatening to sue, jail, and even to harm them. He is a bully and he sees those who oppose him as people to be eradicated, one way or the other.

This, as I understand it, is the sort of person Schopenhauer has described and the man we have selected for our next president. His will dominates his personality and he exhibits a mind that is enslaved to that will, a strong tendency to act impulsively. Recall how Schopenhauer describes such a person:

“. . . we find in many men a strong, i.e., decided, resolute, persistent, unbending, wayward, and vehement will, combined with a very weak and incapable understanding, so that every one who has to do with them is thrown into despair, for their will remains inaccessible to all reason and ideas, and is not to be got at, so that it is hidden, as it were, in a sack, out of which it wills blindly.”

There has been much talk lately about how this man is precisely the sort that Alexander Hamilton warned against in the Federalist Papers, the sort for man the electoral college is supposed to keep out of the highest office in the land. I would argue that he is the prototype of such a man, and his impulsiveness is the key to a personality that will act first and react later — showing a tendency to reduce what little thought he is capable of to finding fault with others and blaming them for his own shortcomings — and if impeded he will plot other avenues to the shallow goals he has set for himself. This is a personality that is lost within itself and acts only in those ways that will advance his own agenda and seeks blindly to find ways to eliminate those who oppose his will.

It is my sincere hope, and my expectation, that if the electoral college does not perform its proper function this man will enrage those he must please in order to realize his goals (to wit, the Congress) to the point that soon after his swearing-in he will be impeached by that Congress — a Congress made up of a majority of men and women from his own political party who will find this man impossible to deal with. They cannot understand him and he refuses to try to understand them — as though he even could.

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18 thoughts on “Impulsive

  1. His intellect is superior in business, maybe not so much in media. I can forgive him for that, obviously , you can’t. Obviously the “anger and discontent” has been about the direction our country is going and the people have spoken. That is why he got elected. Think of all the other politicians who lied through their teeth just to get elected. Does that make them also unfit to server for public office? I doubt Alexander Hamilton was thinking of someone like Trump. There are checks and balances in government and I doubt ‘impulsiveness’ is an issue. Just another attempt to figure someone out and label them as ‘impulsive’ before he is actually serving as president. Let’s see how impulsive he is and where that will get him? He has a typical business tycoon personality and it should bod well for this country as a whole, that is my opinion. Now tell us what you really feel. . .

    • My object in writing for my blog is not to tell folks how I feel, but what I think. And the evidence supports my view. I do, however, agree that politicians lie, but some more than others. And this is not about Trump’s lies (which are legion) but about his tendency to act first and regret later. And we have seen definite signs of this tendency.

      • Hugh, since we were so busy with HRC’s emails, Trump’s business history was never fully vetted by the mainstream media. Newsweek and The Washington Post did some excellent work, but the mainstream media felt it was not sexy enough I guess.

        What I found interesting, is both business reporters and his five biographers define a business career which is spotty, with much success, but many failures and not just the bankruptcies. He is much better marketer than he is a businessman was the key takeaway. Yet, as we discussed what troubled me most is how exploited people for money either by bullying, lawsuits, threatened lawsuits, counter lawsuits, stiffing people and misrepresentation.

        That is what I think, but I am not alone in this regard, as his biographers and his ghostwriter for “The Art of the Deal” all said don’t vote for this man. So, I am not one to trust his impulses as what may sound great from marketing standpoint, needs to be implementable and sustainable.

        I am sorry for the soapbox. Keith

      • Excellent post, Hugh. My thoughts concur with your own, however you are able to state yours more calmly than I. The man lacks the filter most of us have … the one that makes us stop, think, and ask whether this is really the right thing to say/do at this time. Instead, he blurts whatever he thinks, and leaves behind a mess for his minions to go behind and clean up. He is not particularly intelligent, his business successes are rated to be 42%, so he is not particularly successful, he is not even remotely honest, and he has a very wide cruel streak, as witnessed by many things, but not the least of which is his mocking of a disabled reporter. I share your hope that Congress will have sufficient cojones to begin impeachment proceedings quite early next year.

      • Someone once said if we remain calm while those around us are losing their minds we really don’t understand the situation. In this case, we must be the ones to remain calm — even though we may be among the few that DO understand the situation.

    • I don’t understand how anyone could possibly know that his intellect is superior in business. He is the only presidential candidate since candidates have started sharing their income tax returns to not share his returns. My personal feeling is that he is under water, that he owes money to Putin and that’s why they’re so cozy and indeed why Putin wanted him as president. It’s very telling that no U.S. banks will lend him money. Usually when that happens it means the person is not trustworthy. And he couldn’t possibly have superior business intellect if no bank in his own country will lend him money. I also think he will use the presidency to make money that he so desperately needs.

      • I agree, Toby. He was bankrolled and that made it easy for him to recover his losses — which were numerous. He has made a great deal of money, and lost a great deal as well.

      • So glad we could provide you with the opportunity to laugh. Heaven knows we are all going to need to keep our sense of humor. But I do disagree with Toby’s OPINION here that Putin bankrolled Trump. My reference was to his family which has bailed him out more than once. It helps to have been born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth. And as others have noted, his business success is built on layers of failure. Let’s hope his national economic policies aren’t another example of the latter. You, as a “successful businessman” must agree. No?

  2. Hugh, this is well said. The quote is dead on accurate in the description of why we despair. I wrote today that unless something unusual happens in the next 24 hours, we will have just elected a man as President who scares the hell out of most people on the planet and in our country and that statement is not an exaggeration. Keith

  3. sorry, I did this all backwards. kind of like how my day went…..I read comments first and then read what you wrote. so I’m hoping you’re right about impeachment and here’s hoping it happens soon. before he blows up the world……

    • There’s also still the possibility of legal action. There is evidence of Russian interference with the election — to which one of his minions said “so what?” and an indictment pending for his repeated rape of a thirteen year old girl a few years back — and, of course, his conflict of interest as he uses his office to further increase his wealth. But if all that comes to naught, it is likely that his tendency toward autocracy will alienate the Congress to the point where they will throw him out of office. In the meantime, we should all take to strong drink!

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