Trigger Warning: this post contains postmodern philosophy, theoretical dead cats and analogies to quantum theory. If you are sensitive to any of those things, proceed with caution.
Donald Trump is creating all kinds of paradoxes and becoming a real problem for the system these days. The system doesn’t like paradoxes and problems. It has been designed to automatically deal with them in such a way that either a) they are eliminated through bureaucracy or b) they are normalized and co-opted into the system to prevent it from grinding to a halt. In the case of the Trump problem, option a) may prove to be impossible because he is, in fact the boss of the bureaucracy; and option b) is a pretty disturbing. Can you imagine if this White House is normalized in American Politics?! This is in fact, the scariest thing about the legacy he will leave in the history of democracy.
The most recent of paradoxes Trump has created is in relation to the one sparked May 12 when he tweeted that Comey better hope there were no “tapes” of their conversations, leaving the existence of “tapes” of the President’s Oval Office conversations in a state of uncertainty. It kind of reminded me of the Schrodinger’s Cat Paradox: if we put a cat in a box, which has been booby trapped to kill him, he may or may not trip the trap, and therefore we can never know if the cat is alive or dead until we open the box. Further to that, it was reasoned that Schrodinger’s theoretical cat must be equally alive and dead until we observe it being otherwise. My analogy went something like, Donald Trump is Schrodinger, the “tapes” are the cat, the box is the Oval Office, the booby trap is the recording of the conversations, and life or death was what the administration was facing when the lid came off the box and the recordings could be observed/listened to.
But then today, Donald Trump took the lid off the box and offered us a third reality to contend with… that the damn cat doesn’t even exist, the box was opened and it was empty.
Watching media analysis on Trump’s favorite fake news channels, talking heads are saying that Trump’s tweet about tapes not being in his possession means that he lied about the existence of them because either a) he was playing a twisted ego game or b) he was trying to intimidate Comey. They have drawn this conclusion because they believe Donald Trump is the one who put the cat in the box in the first place. I am not so sure that is true.
So Trump-Schrodinger “Tapes” Paradox Analogy adds a fourth reality into the mix, and leaves the existence of the tapes, and their ability to kill or save this administration, open to possibility.
As I interpret Trump’s Tweets, he never actually suggests he is the one who put the booby traps into the Oval Office. His use of air quotes around the word “tapes” further suggests that he didn’t actually know what kind of recording device was used… that is, he had no clue what kind of cat it was.
We know that Donald Trump believes he is/has been under surveillance by American Intelligence Agencies, he believes the cat exists even though he hasn’t seen it. Not only does he believe the cat exists, he is betting that the cat is still alive. In fact (if facts exist at all anymore) he insisted that the cat was alive and well when he actually has no idea if it even exists at all.
Based on the reportedly PR-crafted, lawyer-approved Tweet from Trump today stating that he himself was not in possession of the “tapes”; he still leaves their existence possible, along with the possibility that if they did exist, they would exonerate him. Perhaps he took so long letting everyone know, because he was hoping that he could find the box and the cat before the deadline he was given, but to no avail.
And in that he creates a fifth reality where he implicates the American Intelligence Communities as being the real Schrodinger. They put the cat, that may or may not exist in the box, and they have not allowed Donald Trump, or anyone look in the box to know what state the cat is in. In this this fifth reality, it is possible that they haven’t even opened the lid yet to know themselves if the cat is alive or dead. And in the box the the tapes still sit, in a state of equal existence and non-existence.
“But Charlene… what does this all mean?!” I can hear you screaming inside your head.
To be honest, it means absolutely nothing at all, and the whole of everything all at once. I’m sorry darlings… this is the world we live in now… dealing with multiple realities, confounding paradoxes, and a complete dissolution of the boundaries between the good guys and the bad guys; hyper-reality is a real trip and the system is getting nauseous.