Understanding the mind of a builder

Here is a way to understand Donald Trump

I don’t think it is any profound insight on my part to observe how divided people are about the presidency of Donald Trump, and Donald Trump the person. He has been a polarizing person in the extreme.

Why is that? We have had controversial presidents before, Ronald Reagan comes to mind, but with Trump in office it all seems different, as if some alien descended onto the public scene. He has disrupted politics to a degree unmatched in my lifetime. There is even a name for it, Trump Derangement Syndrome, and the therapy professionals are now talking about a new disorder they are calling Trump Anxiety Syndrome. A lot of therapists seem to be suffering from it themselves.

I have not felt any of this and it might be due to my professional education as an engineer and therein lies a way to understand the current President of the United States.

The government of the United States is without question the largest collection of people who in their daily work have no connection to the world of the concrete. Theirs is a world of ideas, abstractions, theories and plans of one sort or another. It is a world of talking about things, or put another way, the world of the mind. It is a world where everybody, on a daily basis, is doing a lot of thinking, and to a remarkable degree, not a lot of doing.

It is simply true that as any institution heads in this direction, the split between thinking and doing gets wider and wider, and the larger the institution, the more this happens. Everyone instinctively knows this.

If you get caught up in this kind of activity, it can be a heady experience. Thinking about things, disconnected from any concrete outcome, is a narcotic to the personality, and allows for a narcissistic “rush” that makes you feel like a master of all before you.

I am going to say outright that the world of Washington, DC, is a place where abstract thinking, disconnected from any concrete outcome, has now reached pathological proportions. It is an end in itself, and has corrupted the people who live in it.

Now into this world comes this strange creature named Donald Trump.

His entire life has been about concrete things, that is, the building of structures, and highly complex structures at that. This is not a place where you can succeed if you do not understand physical realities. It is not a place where your own ego holds any sway over the immutable laws of physics and the sound practice of engineering. Abstract thinking is basically useless and may even be dangerous to the general public, for obvious safety reasons.

So if you can appreciate the mind of the builder from that perspective, you can understand the complete disconnect between Donald Trump and Washington, DC. He thinks differently from the people of that community. His whole life has been spent understanding the physical world, toward the end of building, literally, concrete structures.

I’ll have more to say about people who are builders and engineers in future posts. It is their kind of thinking that has been badly discredited and ignored for many decades, and our society is the poorer for it.

 

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