Waking up on Tuesday, November 8, 2016, a significant amount of American voters thought that the results of the 2016 Presidential Elections were a foregone conclusion. It was clear: Hillary Clinton was going to be Obama’s successor. However, defying all expectations and predictions, Donald J. Trump had been elected the 45th President of the United States. Nearly two years later, those who oppose him are still asking “How?”
President Trump. Commander-in-Chief. Master of Chaos. Regardless of your political leanings, you cannot deny that our President appears to feel most comfortable surrounded by chaos and conflict. Not only does he seem comfortable in the turbulence created by his presidency, but he appears to thrive in the wake of chaos. President Trump admits, “I like conflict, I like having two people with different points of view, and I certainly have that. And then I make a decision. But I like watching it, I like seeing it, and I think it’s the best way to go.”
The world has always been a place beset by chaos. Throughout human history, various religious and philosophical systems have sought to bring order to the chaos, with varying degrees of success and failure. Yet, in the center of the hurricane of chaos that is our modern society, what if the answer was not to control chaos, but to embrace it as a desirable state of being in and of itself?
“Ordo ab Chao”
There are many names for belief systems that are devoted to focusing one’s will, and therefore energy, in order for an individual to influence and affect an irregular world where life itself is chaotic. You can call it the “Power of Positive Thinking” or you can brand it and sell it as “The Secret.” This type of thinking, these types of rituals, likely existed amongst our ancestors before recorded human history. However, there is a system of belief that emerged following a time of chaotic upheaval in the Western World; it calls itself “Chaos Magic.”
Peter J. Carroll explains, “In Chaos Magic, beliefs are not seen as ends in themselves, but as tools for creating desired effects. To fully realize this is to face a terrible freedom in which nothing is true and everything is permitted, which is to say that everything is possible, there are no certainties, and the consequences can be ghastly.”
Chaos Magic (sometimes referred to as Chaos Magick) isn’t what most people would think of if you asked them to describe magic. According to “Condensed Chaos” by Phil Hine, Chaos Magic offers users “a means to disentangle yourself from the attitudes and restrictions you were brought up with and which define the limits of what you may become,” basically an “increase in confidence and personal charisma” and the ability “to bring about change – in accordance with will.” In other words, “perception is reality.” Chaos magicians can believe whatever they want, whenever they want, for as long as it is useful to them. As soon as something or someone is no longer useful or needed, it can be discarded. They believe that the universe and everything in it is a construct; it is up to the individual to decide what to believe and what to disregard. This happens in real-time and is a neverending process. Sound familiar? “Think and grow rich.” “Manifest destiny.” “Like attracts like.” “Anything is possible.” “Be the difference you want to see in the world.” Any of those ring a bell?
As Hassan I. Sabbah put it: “Nothing is true. Everything is permitted.”
“Belief as a Tool”
If you think this is a bit of a stretch (and trust me, it is), it might help to talk about chaos magic by some of the other names it is known by: “success magic” and/or “results-based magic.” With chaos magic, practitioners will adopt new beliefs and identities on the fly, all with the desired end state of creating results. What could be more compelling for a man like President Trump than creating his own rules for reality? Could red MAGA hats be one of the most powerful reality-changing sigils in history? If not the hats, perhaps it is the Trump “brand name” by itself.
Obviously, there is no evidence or even reason to believe that Donald J. Trump is actively and knowingly participating in chaos magic. However, it is clear that President Trump has been a lifelong embodiment of shaping your own reality through sheer force of will. From his earliest days in business to his ascendancy to the most powerful man in the world, he has shown a willingness to cast aside societal structures and achieve total freedom, while striving to “live according to a developing sense of personal responsibility.”
In a universe based on probability, some things will always remain more possible than others. However, this doesn’t mean we can write off outliers; the 2016 election is, without question, proof of this truth. Even an event with “zero probability” of natural occurrence can occur under the influence of sufficient “magic.” Perhaps our “post-truth” culture is actually an era where those who are willing to embrace chaos will be the ones to shape both reality and our future. Maybe it isn’t that “the facts don’t care about your feelings,” but that the world around you is rejecting the reality you have tried to build; perhaps your will is just weaker than your opponent’s. Instead of focusing on the world as you wish it was, it is time to start living in the world as it will be.