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The Parables of The Sower
Persuasion and the Modular Mind
Published 08/09/20 by Whisper [1 Comments]

You can’t negotiate attraction.

This is red pill 101. Stone age red pill. Stuff we figured out back when we were still banging the rocks together. You know all that. It’s obvious. No amount of rational arguments about why you are a desirable mate are ever going to spark sexual desire in any woman ever.

Hopefully by now the very thought of trying this makes you wince, or laugh, imagining what species of horrible neckbeard you would look like if you tried.

But have you ever wondered why it’s impossible to negotiate attraction? Why it’s impossible to persuade people of certain things, but not others?

After all, I couldn’t talk you into being attracted to fat girls, might or might not be able to talk you into going to medical school instead of law school, and could almost certainly talk you into converting your machine shop to three-phase power.

Conventional wisdom about how to persuade people of things isn’t so much “wrong” as it is a collection of unorganized observations about what works, but not about why.

If we want to influence the decisions people make, then we should probably know how they make them.

Think about this… have you ever been in a pointless argument? Have you ever presented an airtight case, had an audience that was utterly unable to refute the slightest point, yet their ironclad conviction that you were dead wrong only seemed to increase?

Have you ever gotten the feeling that you weren’t talking with a sentient being at all, but just a bundle of conditioned reflexes? (If you never have, then you are quite possibly the guy who gives other people that feeling.)

The reason that you have that feeling may be that you are closer to correct than you realize.

Set aside, for a moment, how you think about brains, and try imagining them like this:

  • A brain isn’t one unified object, but a series of loosely connected neural nets, all slightly different.
  • Each of these networks evolved at a different approximate period of geologic time in the history of life on earth, for a slightly different purpose.
  • All of them are capable of influencing human behaviour, because otherwise, what the hell would they evolve for?
  • Some of them are capable of making decisions.
  • One of them has a special role as far as we’re concerned. What it does is notice things from the senses, put them together, and come up with a story that relates them all. Think of it as a sort of “rationalization engine” or “storyteller”.
  • The purpose this serves is to help us make deductions about the universe, which enable all sorts of clever things like banging the rocks together, and building nuclear reactors.
  • But what’s special about it, for our purposes, is that since it notices things and tells stories, it notices itself and tells a story called “me”.
  • That piece of the brain is “us”. Other bits can’t be part of that, because self-awareness is a story, and the other parts don’t do stories. That’s not what they are for.
  • But many parts of the brain can make decisions. If they couldn’t make decisions, they wouldn’t be of any use.
  • Lastly, the “rationalization engine” always believes that it is responsible for any decision, whether it is or not… because its function is to explain what it sees in terms of other things that it sees. It cannot see other parts of the brain.

This means that you could be having a conversation with one part of someone’s brain, about a decision that happened in another part, and it will keep throwing rationalizations at you, sincerely believing that those are the real reasons.

The conversation goes nowhere, of course, because the actual decision maker isn’t participating or receiving input.

That feeling you get when you’re talking to someone and it feels like they’re failing a Turing test? Consider the possibility that this is what’s going on.

Which gets us back to the real reason why attraction cannot be negotiated. The part of the brain that decides to be attracted, and the part of the brain that can be negotiated with, are different parts of the brain.

So here’s the takeaway:

In order to persuade someone to change a decision or opinion, you need to find a way to connect with the part of the brain that is actually responsible for that decision or opinion.

There’s no step by step set of instructions for doing this, but, if there were, the first step would be to understand all of the above, and be aware of it in your daily life, so that you can try to tell when you are interacting with a “story engine” rationalization, instead of an actual reason.

Once you do that, you have to try to figure out what the real reason is, and how to push past the story engine in order to interact with the bit that is responsible for what is actually going on. This could be done through the process of how you communicate instead of what you say. Or through exploiting the way their story engine talks back to other parts of the brain. Or through entirely non-verbal means.

You’re responsible for figuring how to deal with this situation when you spot it. The first step is to be on the lookout for it so that you know there’s something to figure out.

Tip Whisper for their post.
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Comment by Trp457 on 08/11/20 01:17pm

Split brains experiments seems to accreditate that:

"a patient with split brain is shown a picture of a chicken foot and a snowy field in separate visual fields and asked to choose from a list of words the best association with the pictures. The patient would choose a chicken to associate with the chicken foot and a shovel to associate with the snow; however, when asked to reason why the patient chose the shovel, the response would relate to the chicken (e.g. "the shovel is for cleaning out the chicken coop")."

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