Can You Go a Week Without Trump?
America’s greatest living investor since Warren Buffett observed on Twitter, “If the entire nation continues watching Trump TV nonstop, it’s going to be an exhausting four years.”
That led me to a thought experiment: Would it be possible to go “a week without Trump”? Think that through. How would you organize your life to avoid any reference to Trump?
You’d likely have to attend some sort of silent retreat, as Andrew Sullivan did to detox from his smartphone addition. If you live in the real world Trump is everywhere. He’s on television, he’s at your office, he’s on your Twitter and Facebook feed, and he’s even dictating who you date and have sex with.
Even though I wrote the best book about the rise of Trump, it’s unhealthy to obsess over anyone.
I’m always up for a challenge. Although many in the world know me for my journalism, my true passion is mindset and lifestyle design. How can you rearrange your life to make it better?
I’m going to go one day without Trump. Starting tonight at 9 p.m. PST, I won’t read any reference to Trump or talk about Trump.
It’s not that I’m tired of Trump. The opposite is true. The mass triggering his election caused brings me daily joy.
Yet focusing on Trump (and this is true by an order of magnitude for people who hate or fear him) means you’re not focusing on yourself. You’re not growing your knowledge of the world, and you’re not improving your leadership skills.
Consider why I was able to predict Trump’s rise long before all but two or three people. I was able to predict’s Trump rise because I did not read the news or follow politics. My study of timeless classics allowed me to see patterns others could not recognize.
Today we are in an era of mass movements, similar to the revivalism of George Whitefield. Nationalism is merely an iteration of popular mass movements.
To understand nationalism, you must understand popular movements (not all of which are positive), with the best example being Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds (published in 1841).
Wisdom and leadership necessarily require solitude, with no better essay than William Deresiewicz’s Solitude and Leadership:
How will you find the strength and wisdom to challenge an unwise order or question a wrongheaded policy? What will you do the first time you have to write a letter to the mother of a slain soldier? How will you find words of comfort that are more than just empty formulas?
These are truly formidable dilemmas, more so than most other people will ever have to face in their lives, let alone when they’re 23. The time to start preparing yourself for them is now. And the way to do it is by thinking through these issues for yourself — morality, mortality, honor — so you will have the strength to deal with them when they arise. Waiting until you have to confront them in practice would be like waiting for your first firefight to learn how to shoot your weapon. Once the situation is upon you, it’s too late. You have to be prepared in advance. You need to know, already, who you are and what you believe: not what the Army believes, not what your peers believe (that may be exactly the problem), but what you believe.
How can you know that unless you’ve taken counsel with yourself in solitude? I started by noting that solitude and leadership would seem to be contradictory things. But it seems to me that solitude is the very essence of leadership. The position of the leader is ultimately an intensely solitary, even intensely lonely one. However many people you may consult, you are the one who has to make the hard decisions. And at such moments, all you really have is yourself.
Perhaps like “meatless Mondays,” the effort to reduce animal suffering by going vegetarian or vegan or one day each week, people will adopt a “Trumpless Thursday.”
As for what I’ll do, that’s easy. I’ve purchased “Gödel, Escher, Bach” thrice in my life — once as a college philosopher major, another time during my late-20’s, and finally again yesterday.
Rather than watch people lose their minds about Trump’s latest mean Tweets, I’ll look for the “golden braid” connecting us all to reality.
Mike Cernovich is an author, journalist, and documentary filmmaker. His first documentary, Silenced, examines free speech and censorship culture in college, comedy, and politics.