We’re in such a moment now, as the world grapples with profound complexity. The inherent uncertainty about COVID-19 and the sudden decimation of national and global economies have created interlocking storms of misinformation, disinformation, and conspiracy.
In-groups have become vital to establishing what is real, but the normally overlapping circles of consensus have drifted apart, and the less they overlap, the more divergent our realities become.
Donald Trump is an obvious flash point in this multiverse, the biggest and loudest point of divergence in the path that leads from Universe A to Universe B (or C, or D, or E, or F).
On a near-daily basis, Trump mobilizes online armies to battle over what is real. The crowd was small. The crowd was big. Trump hates the troops. Trump loves the troops. Trump is corrupt. Trump is draining the swamp. Trump is a racist. Trump is the best president Black people have ever had.
Most of us marvel at these incongruent realities, at the shocking ability of some Americans to disregard facts that seem objective and uncontested. But consensus reality rests on identity, and Trump has tripled down on calls to identity.