Does mental capability trump cultural coding?

Two things you might not know:

  1. “We found that the pattern of peoples’ mental processing could be observed in the manner in which they organized their information, or arguments, in the course of an engrossed discussion or argument. The finding was that there were only four patterns of types of mental processing that people use when explaining their position on a given matter.” – Dr. Elliott Jaques. The four processes of thinking identified by Jaques are: Declarative, Cumulative, Serial and Parallel. These are easy to understand and you can apply them while listening to anyone attempting to make a case, in particular when comparing Trump and Clinton.
  2. Dr. Clotaire Rapaille explains how part of the American “culture code” (the unconscious meaning applied by people) is: “We are culturally adolescent and we want our president to be adolescent … and entertainer-in-chief.”

Synopsis

Applying the findings of two renowned scholars and authors: Dr. Elliott Jaques and Dr. Clotaire Rapaille we ask:

  1. Does Trump have the mental capability to hold such a powerful office?
  2. Does Trump represent what the majority of Americans really want in a president?

“Imagine a nation in which all citizens were able, given enough encounters, to evaluate the level of potential capability of each and every one of the candidates running for election in political campaigns, by observing certain manifest features of their performances when engaged in spontaneous political debate, as for example, on television.” – Human Capability by Dr. Elliott Jaques and Kathryn Cason.

Millions of Americans are supporting Trump not because of his mental capability but because of the inherent cultural code embedded in the American culture that he appeals to.

 

(7 minute read)

In the last six months, Donald Trump has been analyzed, psychoanalyzed and diced and sliced by more gurus, talking-heads and so-called experts than there are people insulted by Donald. And the airwaves are a choir of perspicacious opinions singing I-can’t-believe-this-guy-has-a-chance-of-being President of the United Sates (e.g., Bill Kristol, David Brooks, George Bush, Mitt Romney, Senator Mark Kirk, et al).

And yet, more than 13 million GOP primary voters

[1] have stated loud and clear––sometimes too loud––“Trump for President.” However, another 15 million plus primary voters were not for him. Keep in mind, the “for Trump votes” make up only about 9% of all registered US voters and 10% of the total number of Americans who voted in 2012, which represents only 57.5% of eligible[2]. That means if the same percent vote in 2016, the current 13 million voters supporting Trump represents about 6% of eligible voters. In 2008, Barack Obama established the record in a general election with 69.4 million votes.[3]

Intelligence is not always knowing the answer. It is always asking the question. Maya Angelou

We don’t have an answer to the Trump phenomenon; no one seems to. But we certainly have a few, pointy-stick-in-the-eye questions that might help on the way to November 8, 2016.

Today, we pose two critical questions:

  1. Does the candidate have the mental capability to hold such a powerful office?
  2. Does Trump represent what Americans really want in a president (secret, it’s in the culture code)?

 

Dr. Elliott Jaques (1917-2003)

Dr. Elliott Jaques (1917-2003)

More than twenty years ago (1994) the book Human Capability was written by the renowned Dr. Elliott Jaques (1917-2003) and co-author Kathryn Cason (it’s still available at Amazon). Research by Jaques and Cason established a means of measuring a person’s potential mental capability, “a person’s innate capability, or intelligence, or mental capacity, or raw ability, or what we strive to measure (but fail) by IQ or other similar mental tests.”[4]

The authors state that they intended to provide society with:

“… a form of knowledge that would make it possible as a matter of ordinary everyday observation over a period of time (authors’ italics) for people to evaluate their own and others’ current level of potential capability.”

 

And relevant to today’s realpolitik, they also state:

“Imagine a nation in which all citizens were able, given enough encounters, to evaluate the level of potential capability of each and every one of the candidates running for election in political campaigns, by observing certain manifest features of their performances when engaged in spontaneous political debate, as for example, on television.”[5]

 

I worked with Dr. Jaques who is listed in the book, The Ultimate Book of Business Gurus: 110 Thinkers Who Really Made a Difference by Stuart Crainer and he’s also acknowledged in many papers and articles such as the Economist (2009) by Michael Raynor: “For my money, the most undeservedly ignored management researcher of the modern era is Elliott Jaques (pronounced ‘Jacks’). The Canadian-born psychologist’s work on the nature of hierarchy spans half a century and is based on extensive field data on how people behave at work and how they feel about their roles.”[6]

We wonder, if Elliott were here today what his assessment of Donald Trump’s “level of potential capability” would be. Unfortunately, he isn’t here, but we can apply the Jaques-Cason research, theory and methodology on behalf of Elliott, and all Americans.

Briefly, Jaques and Cason explain that it works like this:

“We found that the pattern of peoples’ mental processing could be observed in the manner in which they organized their information, or arguments, in the course of an engrossed discussion or argument. The finding was that there were only four patterns of types of mental processing that people use when explaining their position on a given matter. They are summarized as follows:”[7]

  1. Declarative processing: A person explains his or her position by bringing forward a number of separate reasons for it. The reasons are separate in the sense that each is brought forward individually, on its own, and no connection is made with any other reasons; for example, ‘Here’s one reason for my idea, here’s another, I could give you others as well.’ This method of processing has a disjunctive, declarative quality.
  2. Cumulative processing: A person explains his or her position by bringing together a number of different ideas, none of which is sufficient to make the case, but taken together they do: For example, a detective might argue, ‘If you take this first point (clue) and put it together with these other items we have observed, then it becomes clear that such-and-such has occurred.’ This method of processing has a pulled-together, conjunctive quality.
  3. Serial processing: A person explains his or her position by constructing a line of thought made up of a sequence of reasons, each one of which leads on to the next, thus creating a chain of linked reasons; for example, ‘I would do A because it would lead to B, and B will lead on to C, and C would lead on to where we want to get.’ This method of processing has a conditional quality in that each reason in the series sets the conditions that lead to the next reason, and so on to the conclusion.
  4. Parallel processing: A person explains his or her position by examining a number of other possibilities as well, each arrived at by means of serial processing (see above). The several lines of thought are held in parallel and can be linked to each other. To take an example, it becomes possible to take useful points from less favored positions to bolster a favored one. ‘If I start with a possible position that would lead to A and A to B, that would end in outcome 1, which I do not support. Or I could start with another position, that would lead on to C and then to D and get to outcome 2, which I do support. I like a third position because it could lead to E and then to F, and that could lead to outcome 3 that I do favor, but only if you took action B from the first series, and inserted it between steps E and F on the way to outcome 3. This method of reasoning has a double conditional quality, in the sense that the various scenarios are not only linked with each other, but they can condition each other as well.

Thanks to wall-to-wall television coverage, most of us have had an opportunity, as a matter of ordinary everyday observation over a period of time, to evaluate Donald Trump’s level of potential capability based on the Jaques-Cason thesis.

To the first question: Mental capability?

Removing ideological bias and political correctness, at what level would you place Trump’s pattern of mental processing capability: Declarative, cumulative, serial, parallel?

The obvious follow up question is: At what level of mental processing do American’s want the President of the United States to be at?

Culture Code-41l789+PEFLTo the second question: Does Trump represent what Americans want as assessed in their “Culture Code?”

This question is anchored in the work of the internationally renowned cultural anthropologist, Clotaire Rapaille who is retained by dozens of CEOs and fifty Fortune 100 companies. He’s that good. And his national bestselling book, The Culture Code (2006) provides a well-established theory for assessing how Donald Trump “fits” the American culture.

In The Culture Code, Rapaille explains that:

“the culture code is the unconscious meaning we apply to any given thing”[8]––a car, food, relationships … a country, a president. And these unconscious meanings that we assign have much more to do with our decision-making than our normal intellectual rationale. You will want to read the book to get a full understanding of how instrumental cultural coding is, but for our purpose here, we have extracted a few insightful quotes.”

There’s much more. And we recommend it as requisite reading, particularly for Hillary Clinton.

From Chapter 11, “Parting of the Red Sea Optional: The Code for the American Presidency:”

  • The Culture Code for the American presidency is MOSES.
  • We don’t want a father figure. We want a Biblical figure. [We assume Hillary would represent a mother figure]
  • We want someone who can help us rebel against our problems and lead us into the Promised Land because she/he knows what is wrong and how to fix it.
  • We are culturally adolescent and we want our president to be adolescent as well. [That’s what Rapaille claims and explains].
  • There is a sense in which the president is the “entertainer-in-chief.” His primary job is to inspire us, to keep our spirits up and to keep us moving in a productive fashion.
  • The American Culture Code for America is DREAM. (Chapter 12)

Rapaille’s methodology explains a lot about why Trump has been successful, so far. He is appealing to deep, unconscious, cultural and foundational needs in Americans, which have little connection to peoples’ intellectual reasoning, and perhaps not to the question of the candidate’s intellectual capability.

At the nexus of these two questions is the power of IQ (intellectual) versus EQ (emotional), and which will prevail in tumultuous times.  Will America’s need for their president to be of high mental processing capability trump (couldn’t help it) their need for an “entertainer-in-chief,” a Moses, to fulfill their adolescent dreams of a promise land?

Think about it.

 

Footnotes:

  • [1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/06/08/donald-trump-got-the-most-votes-in-gop-primary-history-a-historic-number-of-people-voted-against-him-too/
  • [2] https://www.google.ca/search?q=How+many+eligible+voters+in+the+US%3F&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&gws_rd=cr&ei=i0SOV7vXDebKjwSE3IHABw
  • [3]  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/06/08/donald-trump-got-the-most-votes-in-gop-primary-history-a-historic-number-of-people-voted-against-him-too/
  • [4] Human Capability: A Study of Human Potential and its Application, Jaques & Cason, Preface x, Cason Hall & Co. Falls Church VA, 1994
  • [5] Ibid, Preface ix
  • [6] http://www.economist.com/node/13599026
  • [7] Human Capability, Jaques & Cason, p. 30
  • [8] The Culture Code, Clotaire Rapaille, Introduction, p. 5, Crown Publishing, 2006
By | 2016-12-10T00:40:53+00:00 September 8th, 2016|Categories: politics, trumpwatch, trumpwatchhome|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

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