The Nature (but Mostly Nurture) of Trump

By Brian Gendron, Ph.D.
Published November 2, 2016 –BEFORE THE ELECTION…

Donald John Trump is a homo sapien. Most likely, you are too! The actions of said homo sapiens are the product of biological, psychological, and socio-cultural forces interacting. Psychologists refer to this as the BioPsychoSocial perspective of human development. In other words, Trump is who he is because of a complex, yet pre-determined genetic code, as well as systemic environmental powers across his lifespan, and finally his very unique, idiosyncratic to say the least, psychological perceptual set.

Every person (108 billion so far) develops a working model of the world, based on their genes and experiences. Unless the lizard-people conspiracy is real, Trump is no exception, and like us, he has a personality resulting from the intermingling of both nature and nurture. To Donald Trump, Donald Trump is the most natural thing in the world.

However, according to Dr. Robert Sapolsky, neuroendocrinologist, professor of biology, neuroscience, and neurosurgery at Stanford University, “There is no species that matches humans in the range of ecosystems, habitats, and social systems in which it lives. And that suggests there is no species freer from the power of genes than humans.” 

In other words, on some level Trump-mania was all pre-written in the stars of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Yet on a much bigger level, it was us. We, the people, nurtured this baby.

Should one feel bad? Well, we’re all in the same boat (including DJT), hanging on to dear life with artificially reinforced confidence, watching as the current takes us to unexplored territory. Groupthink prevents us from steering with any precision; it seems all we can do is lean in one direction, hoping to sway the ship.

To fight the deterministic machine, we need more mindfulness. Indeed, a heightened level of awareness of the present and critical reflection of one’s actions will help steer each of us in better directions. As examples, take a look at this study, or this study, or this study. They nicely demonstrate the powerful effects of just ‘letting go’ of the past as well as the future, even if only for a short period of time.

In today’s mass media age, being mindful can be incredibly difficult, and it is common for people to feel lost and powerless, which ups the chances of being pulled by others in unintended directions. The power of group dynamics deserves more respect, as it’s remarkable how susceptible we are (as animals with instinct) to the repetitious bombardment of stuff that surrounds us everyday, leading to a limited perceptual experience we believe to be normal and right.

And so, back to Don John and the election… Beware! Beware! Beware!

Trump’s name is literally defined as beating someone or something by saying or doing something better. As in, “I can trump your argument about Trump with actual facts.” We hear and see the name Trump over… and over… and over… and over… There’s got to be some psychology in there somewhere!

“Don’t buy that global warming nonsense. Buy my steaks.” -Donald Trump*                                         *not actual quote

If you vote mindlessly, don’t be surprised if the ship crashes, and remember, it will be partly your fault even though you were under mind control. But, if you think critically and still decide to vote for Trump… well, then I wish you the best, nevertheless. Love trumps hate.

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About the Author

has a Ph.D. in Psychology and enjoys writing in the third person.

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