Category Archives: Psychology

We had just experienced exactly the type of free and honest fight club conversation that ZeroHedge enables, by Hedgeless Horseman

I attended the conference that is the topic of this article, and made a presentation on “Breaking the Alternative Media’s Dependence on the Mainstream Media.” Soon I will release the text of that presentation, probably in parts since it was about a 45-minute speech. It was a great conference, and Hedgeless Horseman and Zero Hedge deserve a world of credit for hosting it. From Hedgeless at zerohedge.com:

At the time, my life just seemed too complete, and maybe we have to break everything to make something better out of ourselves.” 

-Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

I am still trying to interpret and integrate all that I experienced and learned about disintermediation, about myself, and about y’all at last week’s First ZeroHedge Symposium and Live Fight Club in Marfa, Texas. I hope that writing this after-action report will help me to better assimilate it.

Last Wednesday, I picked up the aquaponics speaker, Tim, upon his arrival from Hawaii at the airport.  My family and I got to know him well during our short 10.5 hour drive out to Marfa, and over the course of the next 6 days.  We now grok the differences between aquaponics and hydroponics, and the similarities between our two families.

For us, staying in the tepees, tents, and vintage aluminum trailers at El Cosmico proved to be a very good choice.  ZeroHedgers arrived and immediately coalesced around the open-air showers and community kitchens.  Usually the question of, “Are you here for the symposium?” was answered with a yes, a big smile, an offer of a beer or mescal, and an introduction such as, “Hello, I am hedgeless_horseman.”  

[The guy in the picture is Hedgeless Horseman]

Some of us had come a day early to tour the art at the Chinati Foundation.  I had very high expectations based on the reading I had done, and they were exceeded.  It was sublime to experience Donald Judd’s 100 untitled works in milled aluminum, in that particular light, architecture, and environment.  Another favorite was Robert Irwin’s relatively new permanent installation where we literally moved out of the darkness and into the light.  The full-day tour served as the perfect appetizer to clear, open, and prepare my mind for the three-day symposium.

Thursday afternoon, I learned from our gracious hosts in Marfa that a few special snowflakes, which had only recently fallen in this hot and dry desert, had started a petition for the city to ban us from holding the symposium in “their” town. I asked what the perceived problem was, and was told that they were afraid we were violent and white supremacists.  We all laughed, especially the non-whites and pacifists.  Someone asked if the special snow flakes were able to read the list of speakers and topics.  Apparently not.  However, I immediately suspected that their concerns and petition were just another clear case of FEAR, False Evidence Appearing Real.  This was confirmed when I agreed to be interviewed by one of them, a young woman from New York, who also claimed to be a freelance journalist.

To continue reading: We had just experienced exactly the type of free and honest fight club conversation that ZeroHedge enables

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Two From Scott Adams

Here’s two more uniquely Scott Adams’ takes on labels and persuasion, from theburningplatform.com:

Goodbye ISIS, Hello Losers

President Trump just gave ISIS its new name: Losers. (Short for Evil Losers).

If you think that’s no big deal, you’re wrong. It’s a big deal. This is – literally – weapons-grade persuasion from the most powerful Master Persuader of our time.

As I have taught you in this blog, President Trump’s clever nicknames for people are not random. They are deeply engineered for visual impact and future confirmation bias.

In this case, the visuals will be provided by future terror attacks. That reinforces the “evil” part, obviously. But more importantly, the Losers will be doing nothing but losing on the battlefield from now until “annihilation.” They are surrounded, and the clock is ticking. Oh, and the press isn’t allowed to watch the final battles. In other words, we won’t need to build new holding cells on Guantanamo Bay this time. No press means no prisoners, if you know what I mean. (American soldiers won’t be shooting the prisoners. We have allies for that sort of thing.)

As you know, “annihilation” of the Losers in Loserdom won’t stop the loser’s ideas from spreading. You still have to kill the ideas. And that takes persuasion, not bullets. President Trump just mapped out the persuasion solution: Evil Losers.

To continue reading: Goodbye ISIS, Hello Losers

The Time I Nudged Climate Scientists into Debunking their Own Models

If you have been reading this blog and following me on Periscope, you know I announced I was going to use my own powers of persuasion to nudge climate scientists into doing a better job of communicating their side of things. The climate models are the least-credible thing scientists do, and yet scientists have been using their models as their featured evidence. No matter which side you are on with the climate change debate, you don’t want either side using their weakest argument. You want both sides to do their best so we can accurately judge who has the strongest thinking. To that end, I framed the “climate models” as being necessarily incomplete because you really need economic models to decide how to react to climate change, not scientific models. And long-term economic models have zero credibility. Even scientists would agree on that point.

Evidently I applied enough persuasion to generate this video that attempts to debunk my debunking of climate models. But it does so by…devaluing their own models. That’s what I was trying to do too. We’re on the same page.

Watch the clip for the Absurd Absolute tell for cognitive dissonance that happens at ten seconds in. The scientist defines the opposition argument with the absurd absolutes “anything” and  “everything.” Whenever you see your opposition create a strawman argument with absurd absolutes, it means you won the debate. You only see this behavior when the opposition has no response to your real argument; they have to transform it into an absurd absolute in order to have any response at all.

I told you I was going to rewire this global debate exactly this way. I did this as a demonstration of the power of persuasion.

Now, do you still think President Trump’s branding of the Losers is just name-calling?

It isn’t.

https://www.theburningplatform.com/2017/05/25/the-time-i-nudged-climate-scientists-into-debunking-their-own-models/

Whistleblowers, Moral Injury, and Endless War, by Peter Van Buren

Yesterday, SLL readers got a powerful story on what the Vietnam War did to one man who fought in it. Here is another examination of what war does to psyches and consciences, from Peter Van Buren at tomdispatch.com:

Was Chelsea Manning Motivated By Moral Injury?

My guilt will never go away,” former Marine Matthew Hoh explained to me. “There is a significant portion of me that doesn’t believe it should be allowed to go away, that this pain is fair.”

If America accepts the idea of fighting endless wars, it will have to accept something else as well: that the costs of war are similarly endless. I’m thinking about the trillions of dollars, the million or more “enemy” dead (a striking percentage of them civilians), the tens of thousands of American combat casualties, those 20 veteran suicides each day, and the diminished lives of those who survive all of that. There’s that pain, carried by an unknown number of women and men, that won’t disappear, ever, and that goes by the label “moral injury.”

The Lasting Pain of War

When I started Hooper’s War, a novel about the end of World War II in the Pacific, I had in mind just that pain. I was thinking — couldn’t stop thinking, in fact — about what really happens to people in war, combatants and civilians alike. The need to tell that story grew in large part out of my own experiences in Iraq, where I spent a year embedded with a combat unit as a U.S. State Department employee, and where I witnessed, among so many other horrors, two soldier suicides.

The new book began one day when Facebook retrieved photos of Iraqi children I had posted years ago, with a cheery “See Your Memories” caption on them. Oh yes, I remembered. Then, on the news, I began seeing places in Iraq familiar to me, but this time being overrun by Islamic State militants or later being re-retaken with the help of another generation of young Americans. And I kept running into people who’d been involved in my war and were all too ready to share too many drinks and tell me too much about what I was already up all too many nights thinking about.

To continue reading; Whistleblowers, Moral Injury, and Endless War

He Said That? 5/11/17

From Edgar Allen Poe (1809–1849) was an American poet, novelist, short story writer, essayist, playwright, editor, critic and a leading American Romanticist:

I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.

 

Using Persuasion to Create Assets Out of Nothing, by Scott Adams

Scott Adams continues with his unique take on President Trump. From Adams on a guest post at theburningplatform.com:

Yesterday President Trump unexpectedly said he would be “honored” to meet North Korea’s Kim Jung-un.

And that’s how a Master Persuader creates an asset out of nothing.

I’ll explain.

By holding out the possibility of meeting with Kim Jung-un, President Trump has conjured out of thin air a virtual “asset” that he can use for negotiating with North Korea. I’m sure the North Korean leader would like the international respect and recognition that such a meeting would confer. Best of all, Jung-un could use that future meeting as evidence for his citizens that he stared-down America and negotiated a great deal in which we remove some of our military assets while they end their nuclear weapons program. Or something like that.

The point is that President Trump created this “asset” out of nothing but persuasion. Now Kim Jung-un has something to gain, and something to lose. And that option simply didn’t exist a week ago.

Do you think this was a unique situation?

Consider that President Trump has already built a border wall with Mexico out of nothing but persuasion. Immigration from Mexico is down more than 50% just from Trump’s persuasion alone. I suppose we will get something like a physical wall someday too. But for now, Trump’s Wall of Persuasion is doing a lot of work.

Now take a look at the stock market. Optimism about a Trump presidency has increased the value of the stock market by a gazillion dollars (approximately) since election day. In other words, President Trump’s persuasion created a lot of something out of nothing. Again.

To continue reading: Using Persuasion to Create Assets Out of Nothing

MISOC: The U.S. Military’s Secret Brand of Fake News, by Aaron Nelson

The military has its own brand of propaganda, and its own way of spreading it. From Aaron Nelson at theantimedia.org:

PSYOP/MISOC targets foreign governments, groups, and individuals. The government program is similar to journalism, a mode of communication that spreads information, but often spins the narrative, according to Colonel Curtis D. Boyd, Chief of Staff of the JFK Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, who gave a lecture on “The MISTRY* of PSYOP: Putting MISO in Perspective” in 2011.

The mission of the Military Information Support Operations Command (MISOC) is to influence enemy, neutral, and friendly nations and forces into holding favorable opinions and/or taking complementary actions regarding ongoing operations by the United States and its allies.

Senior ranking U.S. military leaders have so distorted the truth when communicating with the U.S. Congress and American people in regards to conditions on the ground in Afghanistan that the truth has become unrecognizable, ” Lt. Col. Daniel Davis told Democracy Now! in 2012.

Before his death, Michael Hastings was one of the first to obtain Lt. Col. Davis’s 84-page report and published it in Rolling Stone magazine.

In February 2012, Hastings was quoted in regard to the report:

I think it’s one of the most significant documents that we’ve seen from an active-duty Army officer in terms of how they view the war in Afghanistan, even the war in Iraq. You can look at this as a significant document about the last 10 years of conflict in America. And it’s not so much as what Colonel Davis is saying, though that’s very important, too. It’s the fact that you have a 17-year Army veteran, who’s done four tours—two in Afghanistan and two in Iraq—who has decided to risk his entire career—because he has two-and-a-half more years left before he gets a pension—because he feels that he has a moral obligation to do so.”

To continue reading: MISOC: The U.S. Military’s Secret Brand of Fake News

He Said That? 4/29/17

From Ambrose Bierce (1842 – date of death uncertain; probably December 1913 or early 1914), American satirist, critic, short story writer, editor and journalist. The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce, Vol. 8 (1911):

He who thinks with difficulty believes with alacrity.