Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Cracking the Code, Chapter Six

Continuing from this post.

Research has shown that negative framing, as in using the word not before an adjective or adverb, is not processed by the unconscious. Hence asserting that one is not guilty reinforces the word guilt instead of negating it, at least at the unconscious level. This also goes for linking negative descriptions to something you want to communicate positively, like progressive compassion fights regressive oppression. The negative word at the end then gets subconsciously associated with compassion. Lakoff also discusses this in his manual Thinking Points. However negation can be used as a technique to manipulate a desired outcome. For example, one could say about an opponent: “I don't think he's a traitor and I'd never call him a traitor.” Which reinforces the notion that his opponent is indeed a traitor!

On fallacies

The four pillars of a decentralized society

See the following video. Early civilization was decentralized but limited to small groups due to human limits of trust. With the advent of agriculture large groups led to a centralized command and control structure. Now with technological advances starting with the printing press we can return to a decentralized society of trust for large groups of people.

The four pillars are decentralized communication, law, production, and finance. You'll see many of the ideas of the Commons Rifkin discussed, but with some additional innovative ideas. See this short video for the details.

Unconscious desires

We're having a discussion on this topic at IPS forum starting with this post. Therein Joseph linked to a Bryant blog post on how neurologists are using brain scans to create more effective advertising. Joseph discusses some measures to counteract such manipulation. My responses so far are below.

This is what I'm discussing in the review of Hartmann's book through the use of reframing. Lakoff of course has been on to this for years, as has Luntz. The latter two are well aware of the brain scanning and cognitive correlates for this sort of manipulation. Hartmann's purpose in writing the book is exactly to provide one with the tools to see through the manipulation by learning how they do it. And to do it oneself, but grounded in reality checks and an ethical code to manipulate for good, like a doctor or therapist. As a former bodywork therapist I 'manipulated' bodies with such intent through training. It also applies to this form of manipulation and training as well.

Speaking of which, Bryant has a recent post on an ethics of love. It is akin to the sort of progressive reframing that induces positive change in others for compassionate social good instead of the regressive sort that creates fear and punishment for private gain.

Joseph replied that in stories there is the manifest content of story elements, the latent content of the hidden meanings and messages, and the unconscious content that keep up behaving dysfunctionally despite revealing the latent content as in Hartmann's proposals. My further responses follow:

Regressives don't know history

Or much of anything, for that matter.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Cracking the Code, Chapter Five

Continuing from this post.

One must anchor feelings to communicate well. He gives an example of a Gingrich memo from 1996 that said one must create contrast with their opponent by casting them in negative emotional terms. Then when an opponent's name comes up it is anchored in those negative emotions. An example was Reagan's 'welfare queen,' which still resonates with regressives to this day. And this despite the fact that the example Reagan provided was spun of whole cloth and no person fitting that description was ever found. It was effective though in virtually dismantling Johnson's Great Society. One can also do the reverse, anchoring positive emotions with one's allies or Party.
Something to avoid is long sentences with several polysyllabic words. This may work well with the highly educated but not much with everyone else. It helps to frame the story in personal terms, naming specific people and relating how they were helped by the desired policy in simple, sensory and emotional terms. But also telling the moral, how such a personal story relates to said policy.

Cracking the Code, Chapters 2 - 4

Continuing from this post.

Chapter Two

There are five stages to classic story structure. 1) A character has his/her world thrown out of balance. 2) Things get complicated and one tries to restore balance. 3) A crisis is faced wherein one must make a life-changing choice. 4) The climax is reached where the choice reaps consequences and the moral is revealed. 5) Loose ends are tied up. He then gave a few story examples that had these elements and claimed this structure has been hard-wired into us.

Chapter Three

Establishing rapport requires that we ascertain which sensory modality is primary for out interlocutor. We frame our worlds through our senses. For most in America the visual is their primary modality. For others auditory or kinesthetic, especially in different cultures. This can be determined by listening intently to how one uses language. However when using political speech one needs to be multi-model to reach the differing preferences of a larger audience.

Chapter Four

Cracking the Code, Chapter One

Hartmann makes clear that communication tools are neutral and require an ethical base and a positive vision. They can be and are used to manipulate others through fear to gain power, which threatens our democracy. Conservative leaders like Luntz, Gingrich and Rove have mastered these tools to convince their middle-class base that global corporations and the ultra-rich promote their interests, when in fact they do not in the least. It is a clear case of conscious, intentional and deceptive manipulation to enrich themselves at public expense. To fight back we need to learn these tools and how they are being abused.

He starts by examining the historical bases of the conservative and liberal stories. Prior to the 1600s in England the European narrative was based in the great chain of being ordained by God. This provided the social hierarchy from monarchs to peasants. Hobbs changed this with his book Leviathan, arguing that all men are created equal and deserved property rights. However underlying this was the notion that human nature was inherently evil and needed a ruling force to contain it. While this was originally the church, in the modern era it became the supposed neutral and mechanistic force of the free market's invisible hand as well as the church. Government was to be shunned, for it was controlled by the evil forces of mankind. This became the basis of the conservative worldview.

Cracking the Code, Introduction

Continuing from this post.

In communication emotions come first, but meaning must be shaped by a story or narrative. These stories must activate our deepest emotions but also mold them into a worldview for comprehending what we perceive and feel. The US framers told a story of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. FDR told one called the New Deal where government helped us achieve those original principles. But Reagan told an entirely different story about the free market and against government.

Many of today's stories are based on fear, activating one of our basest emotions. When so activated we perceive most everything as a threat and retreat into our own worlds of family and friends. This story is specifically designed to do exactly that to keep us from caring about and helping others, to keep us self-involved, for it allows the power brokers to get away with reaping most all of society's benefits while keeping us from doing anything about it. It even trains us to hate others who are in the same boat as ourselves, struggling to get by, as if they deserved their fate for lack of incentive or freeloading.

TPP protests are having an effect

Kudos to these protestors for making a difference in trying to stop this insidious 'trade' deal. Please join them wherever and whenever you can, including the many petitions circulating online.