Mann and Russell Thomas
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Most people use certain techniques, procedures, or formulas for achieving what they want. Some of the less obvious techniques that people have come to use could be known as "deep techniques." There is such a great number and variety of deep techniques being developed, learned, and implemented, the list is virtually endless. In these reports we hope to cover some of these techniques, and to give you the basic tools for identifying, dealing with, and using them. It is important to remember, however, to always keep an eye out for negative deep techniques being used against you, and for new positive deep techniques for you to use. The more deep techniques you become conscious of and familiar with, the better protected and more successful you will become. There are always new deep techniques to be discovered and developed.
Roughly speaking, a deep technique is a "hidden" procedure or mode of operation applied to become more effective at producing some desired result. Although these techniques are "hidden" to most people, they become obvious to those who develop critical awareness. Deep techniques could also be known as "inside angles," and those who develop an awareness of deep techniques could be said to have an "inside-angle orientation." (For more information on the "inside-angle orientation," see the book Wake Up America, The Dynamics Of Human Power.) Most successful people use and develop skills for deep techniques, either consciously or unconsciously. Deep techniques can be honest or dishonest. Just as most tools can be used constructively or destructively, deep techniques can be used positively or negatively. The same deep technique can be used to benefit self and others, or to benefit self at the expense of others. They are called "deep" for the very reason that they are applied below the surface, and often without the critical awareness of those at their receiving end. These report covers different kinds of deep techniques (with some overlap between the classifications):
An example of a deep technique is to subtly ask questions to direct or control a conversation, or to dominate or manipulate another. Some people are in the habit of automatically trying to answer questions put to them - it's as if they are programmed to answer all questions. A counter deep technique is to answer a question with a question - "why do you ask that?" or "I think it's my turn to ask some questions." Another counter is to simply ignore the question and change the subject. Yet another is to give a long- winded "answer" that really doesn't answer that question at all. Politicians tend to be particularly adept at the last.
Your understanding and awareness of deep techniques can be greatly enhanced by studying Neo-Tech's descriptions of what they call "neo-cheating" - see The Discovery of Neocheating.
Sentience and Consciousness
One of the most important aspects of using and defeating deep techniques is to develop critical awareness or consciousness. In order to use or defend against deep techniques, you must first become conscious of them.
It is necessary to make a distinction between sentience and consciousness. Unfortunately, most people use these two words interchangeably to mean the same. We make a sharp distinction between the way we use them. We have senses - we see, hear, feel, taste, and smell. Organisms with senses are sentient. They can sense their environment. We humans are sentient - we can see, hear, feel, taste, and smell our environment. These faculties lumped together we call sentience.
One of the Webster's definitions for conscious is "done or acting with critical awareness." By consciousness we mean critical awareness. This enables us to say that someone can be sentient without being conscious. In other words, the person can see, hear, feel, taste, and smell, but critical awareness is absent.
A person in a coma may be "insentient," that is, can't see, hear, feel, taste, or smell. Of course, a person in a coma is also unconscious. When a person wakes up from a coma he or she becomes sentient, but not necessarily conscious. So, we are making a distinction between three states:
The famous mystic and proponent of self-observation, G.I. Gurdjieff, claimed that in their normal awake state most humans were really unconscious and in a state of waking sleep. He designed all kinds of deep techniques to help people develop critical awareness. He wrote three series of books , the first series (called Beelzebub's tales to His Grandson: An Objectively Impartial Criticism of the Life of Man) having the purpose: "To destroy, mercilessly, without any compromises whatsoever, in the mentations and feelings of the reader, the beliefs and views, by centuries rooted in him, about everything existing in the world." Gurdjieff was a great master of deep techniques. P.D. Ouspensky was a student of Gurdjieff. We invite you to read any of Gurdjieff's and Ouspensky's books, or books by their students.
The Bicameral Model of the
The following model is described in more detail in #TL10: How to Achieve and Increase Personal Power.
Bicameral stage 1:
|Automatic visions and voices tell you what to do.
You automatically obey the "voices of authority."
You think and speak like a slave.
Obedience is paramount.
Bicameral stage 2:
|Automatic feelings and thoughts tell you what to do.
You behave like:
(a) A true believer (sometimes a fanatic fighter for a "great cause"); or
(b) A helpless wimp (languishing in apathy, sometimes complaining); or
(c) A self-righteous preacher (making self "right" and others "wrong"); or
(d) A macho rebel (compulsively fighting "the system," "the IRS," "the government").
Being "right" is paramount.
|You have largely mastered your feelings and emotions.
You have the ability to critically examine every concept, every thought, every action.
You strive to increase your competence in every aspect of your life.
You carefully observe the results you produce, using that as feedback to improve your concepts, thoughts, communications, and actions.
You live free and creatively - you are a Freeperson.
Producing results is paramount.
Raising Your Level Of
Although we will cover positive deep techniques in much greater detail in a later section, we wanted to make one brief point here regarding consciousness. If there is one tool that you can learn and implement to both overcome negative deep techniques applied to you and to benefit from yourself using positive deep techniques, it is to raise your level of consciousness. The simplest way to do this is to learn to question everything. For example, when a terrocrat (terrorist bureaucrat or coercive political agent) attempts to intimidate you by asking you questions in a threatening way or by touting his "authority," instead of simply reacting emotionally in a mechanical way, with thoughts like "this person has the "authority" of the "law" and is powerful, therefore I must do what he says, you can consciously analyze what is being done to you, and come up with alternative thoughts and/or solutions. Cognitive psychologists call such mechanical thoughts "automatic thoughts." For more information on how to get control of your automatic thoughts, see #TL12: How To Achieve Emotional Control.
Another way to raise your level of consciousness is to simply observe all aspects of yourself. You have thoughts, emotions, bodily sensations, etc. at any particular moment. You can also constantly observe the results you produce. You can ask, "What did I do to produce that result?" "What could I do differently or better to produce a superior result?" To become critically aware of yourself at all levels on a continual basis could be called "reflective awareness." This could be one definition of consciousness.
One final, yet very important insight relating to consciousness is that of human development. There are three factors which determine an individual's development. They are:
By far the most influential and most important is consciousness. The more conscious an individual is in all possible areas, the more he or she will be able to control the outcome and produce the results desired. Consciousness can make the first two factors all but irrelevant. All of the topics in these reports can be dealt with by taking conscious control. Raising your level of consciousness in this way could be the difference between success and failure. An individual's level of consciousness plays a key role in how easily they can be conditioned or conned.
The Brain and Consciousness
One of the many functions the brain serves is to interpret the information about reality sent to it by the sensory organs. Therefore one possible perspective on the brain is that it is the organ that "constructs reality." The sensory organs send information to the brain, and then the brain picks and chooses which sensory information it uses to construct reality (either consciously or unconsciously). For example, the human eye is bombarded by light waves of a very wide spectrum, of which only a very small percentage the eye perceives (what we call the "visible part of the spectrum"). The brain then incorporates a certain percentage of that information into our consciousness. From this perspective it would follow that there is an objective reality, but that our individual interpretation or "construction" of it may differ or not be accurate in some respects. It could also be said that an individual's consciousness depends upon the construction that his or her brain creates. Therefore another definition of consciousness could be "to be critically aware of the "reality construction" your own brain creates.
Since an individual's awareness of reality is really a construction of the brain, this awareness is only a partial representation of reality. Another way to look at it is to say that our perception of reality is only an approximation of what really is or exists. For example, someone might say that "the chair is blue." This is only an approximation. A physicist would tell you "No, that chair merely reflects the frequency of light that appears as what we call "blue." As a result of the brain's "reality construction," nothing is ever one hundred percent "true." If truth is an accurate representation of something, then everything is only partly true, and today's "truth" can be replaced by tomorrow's "truth" (more accurate, useful, or workable description of reality).
Many deep techniques are applied in such a way that your brain incorporates a particular event into your "reality construction" so as to avoid conscious awareness, or to have a specific effect, such as intimidation, upon consciousness. The work of the magician is a good example of how this works. The magician does things so that certain aspects of what he does are either not perceived, or else do not become incorporated into your brain's reality construction. If you were critically aware of everything that the magician did, it would no longer be magic. So another way to overcome negative deep techniques is to take responsibility for the construction of reality your brain creates. In effect, this is taking responsibility for the contents of your own brain.
In evolutionary terms, we can think in terms of stages of development. First, a few relatively fixed patterns of behavior developed in primitive creatures, such as: moving toward food, moving away from danger, moving toward light, avoiding what is hard, eating what is soft, etc. Second, acute animal awareness developed. The animal uses all its senses to identify food and danger. It acts mainly in reaction to sensory input. It has more patterns and they tend to be more flexible, for example, cooperative hunting. It's unlikely that any "rational thought" as we know it is involved in its actions. Third, human "proto-consciousness" develops. We "emote" and think about what happens to us and what we do. But, as we saw from the bicameral model, during stage thoughts and emotions are mostly automatic and unconscious. Fourth, consciousness develops where we become much more aware of our thoughts and emotions and we gain control over them. This could also be called "critical awareness of consciousness."
Many primitive survival patterns involve camouflage and deception. Chameleons change their colors and the patterns of their colors. Some insects look like twigs. Scuttle fish change both their colors and shapes so they look like sea plants. It's important to appreciate that, throughout evolution, camouflage and deception patterns have provided huge competitive advantages to certain creatures. Most deep techniques are simply the most evolved and sophisticated forms of camouflage and deception.
Most of us are subject to tendencies to automatically or spontaneously behave in certain ways in certain situations or as a reaction to certain stimuli. Considerable research has been in this respect. I particularly recommend the book Influence: Science and Practice by Robert B. Cialdini. For example, research indicates that if you ask someone to do something, they are much more likely to it if you include the word "because." It seems to make little difference what "reason" you give, but just using the word "because" makes a huge difference to the degree of compliance.
Negative Deep Techniques
Practitioners of deep techniques implicitly or explicitly know that most people are subject to certain automatic, predictable behavior patterns. Like using the word "because," they consciously or instinctively know what "buttons" to push in order to trigger an automatic response.
There is a range of techniques used by certain professionals - like lawyers, preachers, politicians, bureaucrats, doctors, journalists, gamblers, cult leaders, conmen and conwomen - to intimidate, dominate, control, and take advantage of their victims. For example, you want to start a business and you need to raise some capital. You're told you must consult a lawyer. When you visit the lawyer, he points to his certificates on the wall and a 10-foot row of law books in his bookcase. He says he knows his knowledge from these books and you must utilize his services otherwise you'll get in trouble with the law. (He may also subtly convince you that without years of training you couldn't yourself apply the knowledge in his law books.) Of course, the system is set up so that you lose either way. Either you pay thousands now to prevent getting in trouble, or you pay thousands later to get out of trouble. This is an example of intimidation. It is also an example of what we call the "either/or choice," which will be covered later.
A common denominator of negative deep-techniques is the claim to be an "authority," otherwise known as a "schmexpert." The lawyer and doctor are "authorities" therefore their services are indispensable. Therefore they also need to be paid exorbitant fees. To top it off, these professional "schmexperts" have organized "the system" so they enjoy certain monopolies. They issue "licenses" to themselves and their crony-friends. Anyone without a "license" trying to compete with them is persecuted or prosecuted for "practicing law without a license" or "quackery." Negative deep techniques are used to "explain" why such systems are "necessary."
When someone purports to be an "expert," he or she may be manipulating you through one of several means. The first technique used by "authorities" is that unconsciously, most people readily believe what they are told, especially by those perceived as "authorities." If a doctor says x, most people tend to believe x, simply because he is labeled an "authority." Most people never consciously, critically examine what such "authorities" have to say, and therefore allow their brain's construction of reality to be manipulated by such "truisms." Keeping in line with our bicameral heritage (as described by Julian Jaynes) this tendency also plays on people's unconscious desire for an external power to tell them what to do, just as a parent or supposed "government" does. Furthermore, such "schmexperts" usually refuse to accept or even look at any information that contradicts or threatens their "knowledge." Lawyers will rarely consider the use of common law - which would render them relatively useless in the legal system. Doctors rarely look at alternative and natural healing techniques because it would make many of their high-priced "medicine" (drugs) obsolete. In fact, in some cases the prescription given by doctors is worse than the problem.
The reason most people fall for the ploy of anyone claiming to be an "authority" is because it is a natural bicameral tendency to do so. It is a type of "default program" in our brains. It is easier to default to the old fixed-pattern programs, rather than to consciously think about things. As individuals move into the conscious stage, they become more willing to critically analyze all information given to them and make their own decisions. No longer do they blindly accept something just because an "authority" says it is so.
Manipulation of Emotions
A second technique often used is taking advantage of people's emotions. The person in bicameral stage one or two usually has little control over his or her emotions, and therefore the lawyer, con artist, or politician may appeal to and influence someone's emotions, often without them knowing it.
Con artists, bureaucrats, lawyers, etc. have learned how to manipulate just about every negative emotion a person could have. Fear, guilt, doubt, blame, and shame are the typical targets. Intimidation is especially common, as Robert Ringer explains in Winning Through Intimidation: "The results a person achieves are inversely proportional to the degree to which he is intimidated."
For example, a bureaucrat might get you to pay more of his "taxes" because he has manipulated your fear of the "big bad IRS." If you don't pay taxes you fear you will be punished. After all, look at all the people who are audited. In effect, the bureaucrat is influencing you into making a "brain construction" of reality in which you are at the mercy of the bureaucrats. This also makes use of another deep technique - making an example of one member of a group instills fear in the rest, and as a result they all obey without the bureaucrats having to do much further intimidation. You often hear about all the people who get caught "evading taxes," but you seldom hear about how as many as one in nine people successfully avoid the tax system altogether. If everyone, or even a significant number of people decided not to pay taxes, there would effectively be nothing the bureaucrats could do about it.
Another example of emotional manipulation is the reasons a preacher may give for needing money, and why he is raising it for the church. His religion is a "moral" thing and therefore you should contribute. If you contribute to his "worthy" cause you are a "good" person, if not you are "immoral." This is an unconscious manipulation of emotions to instill guilt. If someone legitimately wants to contribute, fine, but using guilt to get them to do so is a blatantly negative technique. Guilt and altruism often go hand in hand. Manipulators will say that it is "right" to be altruistic and help others, and that it is "wrong" to be selfish. The use of altruism is another means of instilling guilt to manipulate people. For those who need to overcome such ideas, we recommend The Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand and The Art of Selfishness by David Seabury.
Furthermore, many people make similar use of emotions by constantly stating how things "ought" to be. Such people often confuse what "is" with what "ought" to be. They also tend to purposely confuse their opinion of how things should be with the logic of a situation in order to get people to support their "great cause." In this case a "true believer" might get emotionally aroused and join this great cause. A "macho rebel" might disagree with the cause and try to start a counter group. Someone in the conscious stage however, would critically analyze the situation, decide on what the best action to take is, and go on with his or her life. Conscious individuals focus on results. The pre-conscious individual gets caught in the trap of preponderance of means over ends [see #TL07A: The Anatomy of Slavespeak], usually as a result of not critically thinking about the results he or she wants to achieve. Robert Fritz, in his book The Path Of Least Resistance, calls this state of being unconscious of the results you want to produce, the "reactive-responsive orientation." When an individual becomes conscious of the specific results he or she wants to produce, he or she is about a million more times likely to do so. Fritz calls this the "creative orientation." One of the things we're attempting to do with all these reports is to create a massive shift into the creative orientation. [See #TL12: How To Achieve Emotional Control.]
One of the lowest forms of manipulation is based on the realization that most people either consciously or subconsciously dislike themselves, and therefore feel they deserve to be manipulated. For example, a person might win a legal settlement, but because he hates himself he feels that he doesn't really deserve all of what he got. The lawyer will then take advantage of this and ream the person for his services. The person gladly pays the bill since he did not feel deserving in the first place. Kurt Vonnegut, in his book God Bless You Mr. Rosewater, describes this phenomenon: "In every big transaction, there is a magic moment during which a man has surrendered a treasure, and during which the man who is due to receive it has not yet done so. An alert lawyer will make that moment his own, possessing the treasure for a magic microsecond, taking a little of it, passing it on. If the man who is to receive the treasure is unused to wealth, has an inferiority complex and shapeless feelings of guilt, as most people do, the lawyer can often take as much as half, and still receive the recipient's blubbering thanks." For more information on self-dislike and how to overcome it see #TL04A: The Most Fundamental Human Problem.
A common negative deep technique used when trying to get someone to think in a certain way is to talk with someone, find what points they are adamant about and what points they are indifferent towards. Once a "weak spot" is found, the con artist can then begin to pursue the person to accept his opinion by gradually leading his argument from that "weak spot" around to the opinion he wants the person to accept. In other words, since the person has a certain "construction" of reality, the new idea must somehow tie in with the construction the person currently holds.
Whatever the particular situation of a con artist, one fundamental principle of emotional manipulation is to tailor it for each individual person. They often have an intuitive knack for doing this. Once a con artist finds a person's unconscious "hot button" it becomes relatively easy for them to manipulate the person. All they have to do is "push" the button and like a computer execute the program (in the case of humans - behavior) that the con artist wants. A perfect example of this is when a "business opportunity seminar" leader gives a dramatic speech to a group of middle-income workers. He has found out that the "hot button" for most of the people in the audience is "undreamed of wealth" or "freedom from their job" - on hearing this the workers start to get all excited and will pay their money to get involved with the so-called "business opportunity" - only to see their money disappear.
Although lies are not really a deep technique, this section would not be complete without briefly mentioning some of the deep techniques associated with them. For example, it is obvious that con artists lie, but a not so obvious technique they use is to tell the "truth" from time to time. After all, in order for someone to believe a person's lies, it is necessary to mix in some "truth" that is believable. They also use the technique of denouncing old lies in order to make it seem like they are no longer lying. For example, politicians will admit that they lied about nuclear testing being done on Americans, but say "those kinds of things don't happen any more" - meanwhile US soldiers are coming back from the "Gulf War" with an "unknown disease" that the bureaucrats deny exists. Another almost obvious deep technique is the practice of one politician accusing the other of exactly what the first is doing - if he accuses someone else of something, people will tend to be emotionally attracted to the accuser and emotionally distanced from the accused.
The results of these techniques are impaired mental judgment and increased suggestibility. The emotions can be appealed to in any number of ways from stirring up hatred against an imagined "evil" (such as cult leaders do) or a "great cause" to create pity for some segment of "society" as politicians do. In all such cases there is no substance - only an illusion. Image is everything to such people and if that image is tarnished it becomes obvious who they are and what they are doing. Why do you think lawyers (aside from greed) always try to impress everyone with things such as flashy cufflinks and fancy cars which really have no bearing on the lawyers' ability or usefulness?
To summarize this section, most con artists, etc. have several things in common. First, they all have a conscious or unconscious ability to manipulate emotions. They also understand that when victims allow their emotions to be in control, they cannot think clearly. Furthermore, they understand human nature (that people always do what they feel -- or think -- is in their own best interest) and have learned how to use human nature to their own advantage at the expense of others. They understand the human "will to power" as Nietzsche described it - that people need to feel and express their power. Furthermore, they utilize the knowledge that most people want to gain the greatest wealth with the least effort. Finally, they all use these abilities primarily to extort wealth from value creators so they themselves can prosper while being lazy.
Manipulation of Poor Thinking
An equally common, but more difficult to overcome negative deep technique is the manipulation of people as a result of their poor thinking skills. Critical analysis is even more important in this case than it is when dealing with emotional manipulation. Quite simply, the only way to defeat people who confuse and manipulate victims through their poor thinking skills is for the victims to improve their thinking skills. The good news is that just about everyone has the ability to do so.
Most of the manipulation done to victims with poor thinking skills is the result of purposely inaccurate logic. One example of this is the syllogism, also known as the "sillygism." The sillygism takes place when someone proposes X. Someone then says that X is Y (when no relation between X and Y exists). Y is bad and we can't have Y, therefore X is bad. For example, someone may say that without "government" there will be chaos, violence, destruction, etc. This would be bad, therefore we must have "government." The trick is that x - the lack of government, and y - chaos, violence, etc. have no relation.
There are a great number of informal logical fallacies that manipulators use to fool people. For example, there is the fallacy of division, and its opposite, the fallacy of composition. A simple example of these fallacies is as follows: if you cut up a human body into its individual organs (division), it will be the same as if you left them intact. Then, if you put those individual organs back together (composition), it will be the same as when you started. This is obviously not the case, and if anyone ever suggested this we would say he should try it on himself first. Yet politicians use this form of reasoning much of the time. An example of the composition fallacy: "The brain has the faculty of consciousness; therefore, each brain cell must also be capable of consciousness." Division: "Germany is a militant country; therefore each individual German is militant." Usually these arguments are phrased so they're more difficult to recognize than these examples.
A further technique used is to make a claim that can never be tested. For example, the statement "there is life after death" is really an informal fallacy because the claim could never be scientifically tested - if someone was dead he or she could not make a report to verify the claim - unless, of course, you believe claims of "spirit communications." This also holds true for ideas that cannot be proven true or false. For example, before Columbus sailed most people believed that the world was flat. Yet at that time they had no way to prove or disprove it. Just because it couldn't be proven or disproven that the world was flat, didn't mean that it was true.
Still another negative deep technique used could be called a "truism." This is when someone states an opinion or a theory as if it were fact. For example, a journalist might state that, "The President said that the reason there are so many poor and homeless is because the welfare system is not doing enough. Therefore welfare spending should be expanded." Although this is one theory about why there are so many poor and homeless, the journalist has stated it in such a way as to make it sound like a fact. Another method of using the truism is when a theory is confused with raw data. For example, a scientist may have some raw data from a study he did, and may then come up with a theory to explain the raw data. He then states the theory as though it were fact. This is an example of a fallacy because it confuses the facts (raw data) with opinion (his personal explanatory theory). The original announcement that "HIV causes AIDS" is an example of the truism negative deep technique. See Report #TL09A: AIDS -- Bad Science or Hoax?
A related negative deep technique is the use of numbers, charts, and graphs to confuse or manipulate. This is such a common technique that we find it amusing, yet few people take the time to actually critically analyze such graphs. As an example, we recently noted a magazine article that had a graph "proving" how much more reliable Toyota pickup trucks were over Ford and Chevy. It showed a graph that made the Toyota's "reliability bar" much larger than the others, but down at the bottom in fine print was labeled Toyota reliability: 98 percent, Chevy reliability 96 percent and Ford reliability 95 percent. The graph had been distorted in such a way to create the illusion of significant difference. The point here is that in order to identify such deep techniques, it is necessary to take the time and effort to critically analyze things.
Complex abstractions are also used to confuse or manipulate. Although such abstractions typically sound profound in language, in reality they usually can be explained in much less bloated language. This is also why particular monopoly fields such as lawyers, etc. use such bloated language. In order to be able to extort ridiculous fees for the interpretation of the BS they create, you have to be "licensed" by the BSers - to make sure you're one of them. The manipulation of language will be covered in more detail in the section on semantic deep techniques.
A classic example of a negative deep technique that feeds off poor thinking skills we call the "pincer technique." This technique is when a con such as a politician, lawyer, or cult leader creates a problem and then steps in offering a "solution" - for a price. An obvious example is how terrocrat taxation strangles businesses to the point where they have to lay off workers. The number of "unemployed" then goes up, which "only the government" then can "fix." In order to pay for the "unemployment benefits" the terrocrats then must "raise taxes" to compensate for this increase in spending. None of the so-called "solutions" ever solve the problem, they simple escalate both the problem and the power of the terrocrats - which is what they want.
A related negative deep technique that preys on poor thinking skills is the use of what could be called "mysticism." Mysticism is when people such as bureaucrats or preachers lead their victims to think that they (the bureaucrats or teachers) have far more ability to accomplish something than they really do, while their victims are persuaded that they are relatively helpless. For example, politicians promise that "government" will "balance the budget," "eliminate poverty, " "stop the 'drug problem,'" etc. None of these goals is ever achieved, and furthermore "government" (as will be explained in the section on semantic deep techniques) cannot "do" anything - it is not a volitional entity. Only individual people can do things. They could say that the individual bureaucrats were going to do all of these things, but they almost never do. This is largely because they not only have no desire to accomplish such things, but also because they do not have the ability (personal power) to accomplish them even if they wanted to. Generally, only personally powerful individuals not trapped in bureaucracy solve significant problems.
One fairly obvious deep technique could be called "juxtaposition." This occurs when someone starts out by saying they are going to write or speak about one thing and then write or speak about something entirely different, in an attempt to confuse others into believing that the conclusions of what he is really talking about apply to what he is supposedly talking about. For example a politician may say he is talking about "health care," but what he is really talking about is the red tape, insurance, and legalities burdening the health care system. He may conclude that "health care is just too expensive and therefore government must subsidize it." In reality he is talking about tort reform and the creation of socialism.
One of our favorite negative deep techniques is the "fallacy of many questions." This is when someone asks a question that makes a presumption. An example is when someone asks "When did you stop beating your wife?" This question presumes that the man had been beating his wife. Another example of this is when a politician postulates a question like "How can government do something for the poor if we don't have taxes?" This is making two presumptions. First he is making the presumption that terrocrats should "do something" about "the poor," and second he is presuming that "government" should exist at all. This brings us to the next topic.
The either/or question. We left this as the last topic to be covered in this section because it may be one of the most important. This technique is used quite often in a variety of fields. The idea is to ask an either/or question that supposedly leaves the respondent with only those two options, both of which are structured to serve the person asking the question. This is similar to some of the techniques mentioned earlier regarding the "pincer technique," and the "reactive responsive orientation." This is done in an attempt to limit the respondent's perspective in order to get the desired result. For example, a man at a bar might ask a woman, "So would you like to go out with me Friday or Saturday night?" Supposedly the only options available to the woman are Friday or Saturday - both of which serve the purpose of the man - to get a date. This is essentially attempting to put blinders on the victim to try and make her see only the options presented. In other words, limit the range of thought in which the woman could answer. Just as in most cases, however, the woman has a third option of telling the guy to "get lost" and walk away. All she has to do is develop the thinking skills to come up with this alternative. Edward De Bono calls this "lateral thinking." Paul Watzlawick calls it "stepping out of the system." This type of thinking is largely an oversimplification of things - making them black and white. Doing so confines possible solutions to what is already known, which in turn leads back to what the con artist wants.
To summarize this section, thinking skills are often manipulated in a variety of ways. The solution is to take the time to critically analyze information given; not just blindly accept it. Studying books on formal logic may help you develop your critical thinking skills. You may also want to study books on thinking skills such as those by Edward De Bono, Michael Hewlitt-Gleeson, Paul Watzlawick and Ellen Langer. Most importantly, you should practice your thinking skills which will not only allow you to detect deep techniques, it will raise your general level of consciousness as well. After all, practice makes perfect.
A common expression is that "man is the rational animal." This would be more accurate if it were restated, "man is the rationalizing animal." This tendency toward self-deception is an important reason why people are so easily conned and manipulated with negative deep techniques. They lie to themselves and create their own blind spots. They then become blind to their blind spots. This self-deception has a great deal to do with the fact that the brain "constructs reality," and that people can control their brain's construction, often in ways that cause unconsciousness. Essentially, they are doing half the work of the lawyer, bureaucrat, or con artist for them. Someone who is honest with himself or herself, and who becomes aware that the brain "constructs" reality will be much more able to spot negative deep techniques being used against him or her.
Psychologists have classified self-deception into several categories. For example, there is "perception bias," also known as "expectation bias," which is when people see what they expect to or believe they see. A classic example of this is the "Loch Ness Monster." People go to Loch Ness expecting to see some sort of "creature" in the water, and therefore the first log they see floating in the water turns into "Nessie." As in most cases where people deceive themselves, the locals almost certainly take advantage of people's self-deception by perpetuating the myth. After all, "Nessie" attracts millions in revenue from tourists just waiting to see the "Loch Ness Monster."
A second self-deceiving bias is the "confirmation bias." This bias occurs when a person holds or is told that a certain piece of information is "true." When confronted with conflicting information or evidence the person is quick to disagree or dismiss the information. This is a perfect example of behavior in bicameral stage two. The conscious person is able to critically examine and question every concept, and thus not dismiss possibly important information simply because it conflicts with what they now "know." People who are stuck in a "confirmation bias" type of mode only look for information that confirms what they already know. An example of this is how a young adult will be told by his or her parents that the "democrats are good, best, and just." Therefore the person will become a "true believer" of the democrats and vote for them every time. The person will then only look for information to back up this belief, such as how the democrats "help the poor." The person would then tend to ignore the information that the terrocrat programs are perpetuated by using force or the threat of force and coercion to steal from value-producing individuals in order to give it to the parasitic elements of society. In other words, either consciously or unconsciously these people focus on information that would "confirm" their information (bias) and blind themselves to information that would conflict with their current information. The conscious individual on the other hand, is always looking for, and open to new and different perspectives and information, especially information that may alter or conflict with his or her current knowledge. In fact, one positive deep technique is to overcome this problem is to "consider the opposite" of whatever it is that you are thinking about. This way the person is constantly improving and upgrading his or her information, and not confining himself or herself to any one viewpoint. Essentially, all "knowledge" is provisional and personal due to the brain's "reality construction." For more information on this topic, see #TL20: The Principles of Meta-Knowledge.
A related psychological phenomenon to confirmation bias is "cognitive dissonance." Cognitive dissonance is the theory that when people hold conflicting beliefs, or act in ways that conflict with their beliefs, this conflict causes them to change either one or more of their beliefs or their actions. For example, a person is conned into buying a $500 vego-matic (it slices, it dices...) that he does not really need. He could be honest with himself and admit that he was ripped off. On the other hand, due to conflicting beliefs (he didn't need the vego-matic) and actions (he bought the vego-matic) he may ease this conflict by either changing his beliefs (I really did need to spend $500 dollars on a vego-matic), or by changing his actions (I'm going to get my money back). Another form of cognitive dissonance is to simply reject without consideration any information which clashes with current "knowledge."
Most people are self-deceiving in one way or another. Con-artists, lawyers, doctors, preachers, and bureaucrats are aware of and take advantage of this phenomenon. For more information on how to identify and correct self-deception, see report #TL80A: The Creativity Report #1.
Brainwashing and Conversion
Brainwashing and conversion use a collection of the techniques that have already been covered, plus some additional ones. Brainwashing and conversion techniques have been and are used by all sorts of groups from military forces to religious cults. These techniques are usually quite powerful, and thus tend to enjoy great success.
The most fundamental deep technique for brainwashing and conversion is to create the physiological conditions in the body that most readily allows the brain to be manipulated. This usually involves a lack of sleep, a diet high in sugar, processed foods low in protein, special lighting and sound effects, and sometimes drugs. The state of being receptive to brainwashing can be achieved either through force and coercion, as in a prison camp, or it can be achieved by convincing people through indoctrination that eating certain foods is "evil" and that going for days without sleep is "enlightening."
Like other con artists, the cult leaders, tyrants, and preachers also use guilt, apprehension, self-doubt, and fear to instill a weakened psychological state in their victims. The appeal to "authority" is also widely used within these groups. A perfect example is how the so-called "Pope" is the supposedly the ultimate "authority" on every aspect of a Catholic's life. If you do not obey the moral code of the "Pope" you are intimidated, degraded, humiliated, and "guilted" into compliance. Jonathan Edward's in 1735, Stalin in 1917, Hitler in 1939, and David Koresh in 1993 are all examples of cult leaders and tyrants who used these techniques to manipulate and control people.
Once adequate physiological and psychological pressure has been placed on the person and his or her brain is "wiped clean" it is wide open to new programming through suggestion or substitution. In this state people revert from the conscious state to the preconscious or proto-conscious state of mentality.
Toward the end of his life the Russian psychologist, Ivan P. Pavlov, made some very important but relatively unknown breakthroughs in identifying the process through which brainwashing occurs. When functioning normally a (sentient but unconscious - like a dog) organism responds to stimuli in direct relation to the magnitude of the stimuli. Strong stimuli equals strong response, and weak stimuli equals weak response. Pavlov discovered that through the use of brainwashing techniques, he could instill three additional phases on his dogs.
The first stage he called the "equivalent phase" in which the animal's brain gives equal response to either strong or weak stimuli, instead of responding to stimuli in relation to the magnitude of stimuli.
The second stage he termed the "paradoxical phase" in which the animal's brain responds more actively to weak stimuli than strong stimuli.
The third stage he labeled the "ultra paradoxical" stage in which all conditioned responses and behavior patterns turn from positive to negative and negative to positive. This was largely induced by overloading the animals brain with sensory information, otherwise known as "information overload."
One way Pavlov was able to do this was by creating conditioned-response connections in the dogs between a circle and food, and an oval and no food. When a circle was flashed in front of the dogs, they received food. When an oval was flashed, they received no food. He then gradually made the circle look more like am oval, and the oval more like a circle, until the point where the dogs were no longer able to make the distinction between the two. As the distinction became less and less clear, the dogs' anxiety increased to the point were they no longer responded to any stimuli and thus the "paradoxical" and "ultra-paradoxical" states where induced.
The process is not so simple in conscious humans, but the fundamental ideas and stages are the same. You may have noticed for example how after being yelled at by his or her boss all day an employee may tend to shrug it off and only truly pay attention to the boss when he speaks in a quiet and relaxed manner. This is an example of the paradoxical phase. The person responds to the large stimuli (boss's yelling) very little, but responds to the small stimuli (boss's calm voice) a great deal.
John Coleman, in his book Conspirators Hierarchy 2000: The Story of the Committee of 300, quotes psychologist Kurt Lewin on the process used to induce this state in humans, "One of the main techniques for breaking morale through a strategy of terror consists of exactly this tactic: keep the person hazy as to where he stands and just what he may expect. ...[T]hen the individual may cease to know whether a particular plan would lead toward or away from his goal. Under these conditions, even those individuals who have definite goals and are ready to take risks are paralyzed by the severe inner conflict in regard to what to do." Lewin goes on to speak of the information overload principle he calls "future shock": "Future shock is a series of events which comes so fast that the human brain cannot absorb the information. It is physical and psychological distress arising from the excess load on the decision-making mechanism of the human mind." Essentially the person is confused and mentally assaulted while his or her awareness is being reduced - ultimately to make it extremely difficult to distinguish between fantasy and reality. An over-excitation of the nervous system through overload of emotions. One way to overcome this is to be certain of the facts and of your information.
The cumulative effect of all of these techniques is to instill a feeling of what Martin Seligman calls "learned helplessness." If it is not clear what the person needs to do in order to achieve the desired results, or is confused as to whether he or she can achieve the desired results, then the person "learns" (over-generalizes) that he or she cannot affect anything. In this state the person has lost the ability of critical analysis. The person has also created a generalized "reality construction" in which he or she cannot produce results in any circumstances. This is why so many people act like helpless children. It is also why brainwashed victims become "true believers" and turn to putty in the hands of manipulators. For more information on learned helplessness, see the two books Helplessness and Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman.
Brainwashing, conversion, and large-scale manipulation usually start off by appealing to the emotions, rather than to reason. This is done to induce the right hemisphere of the brain, the emotional hemisphere, as the dominant hemisphere. This decreases the use of the left hemisphere, or the logical and critical hemisphere. (This is somewhat of an oversimplification, but it will serve to explain.) Making the right hemisphere the dominant hemisphere also increases the amount of alpha brain waves. Once considerable emotional arousal is achieved (fear, anger, excitement, nervous tension), then the repetition of slogans and indoctrination begins. Since the programming of the brain works on the principle of repetition, these dictums are repeated over and over for maximum effect. The cumulative result of these techniques is impaired mental judgment and increased suggestibility. The emotions can be appealed to in any number of ways from stirring up hatred against an imagined "evil" (such as cult leaders do) or a "great cause" to create pity for some segment of society as politicians do. An additional means used to engage primarily the right brain is to use visualization. Visualization, like emotion, is a right-brain function and the use of this could possibly (but no necessarily) reduce critical thinking. In his book Megabrain Power, Michael Hutchinson points out that each of the different brain wave states (alpha, beta, theta, delta) serves a different function, and that the alpha state makes people especially susceptible and open to reprogramming.
Altering the brain waves of victims is a critical element of brainwashing. The normal awake brain state consists primarily of beta brain waves. This is the state of functioning that critical awareness requires. The passive state of brain function that is induced by brainwashing techniques consists of mostly alpha brain waves. The alpha brain wave state makes a person 25 times more susceptible to suggestion than the beta brain wave state. Interestingly, this is also the primary brain-wave pattern in "gurus" who meditate for long hours, and also in people when they are watching TV. In fact, it has even been shown that people watching TV in primarily alpha brain-wave state actually burn fewer calories than someone simply sitting calmly in beta brain-wave mode! Much of the special lighting and sound used by cult leaders is to induce the alpha brain-wave state. Furthermore, the alpha brain-wave state induces the internal release of natural opiates and beta endorphins. Essentially, being in the alpha brain-wave state, feels good and can act like a drug. Therefore, TV can actually become physically addictive! This increased susceptibility of alpha brain waves of TV viewers is also why television advertising is so effective - people are more susceptible, and therefore more easily persuaded to buy a certain product.
To summarize the steps often used by cults and manipulators:
Many people make the assumption that they could attend such an indoctrination meeting and not be affected. This may be a mistaken assumption. Attendance at such a function necessarily means influence. A good example of this is military training itself. The marines often speak of "breaking a man down before building him back up."
Conversions usually occur in a very abrupt manner, as "religious awakenings" demonstrate. Throughout history, many cases of radical changes in consciousness and behavior have been cited as a result of similar types of practices. These conversions are usually accompanied by severe emotional releases. Once a person has been "converted" they often cannot think for themselves, and become intellectually as well as emotionally dependent upon the "guru" or "authority." Quite simply, this state of mind is a reversion to an earlier state of evolution. In such cases, thinking becomes aversive, and not thinking becomes rewarding. In most cases this process can be reversed through long and intense therapy, however, there have reportedly been some cases that were irreversible.
The one thing all of these procedures have in common is that they eliminate a person's ability to question information and use critical analysis. Brainwashing could be called an "information disease" - it is a disorder with the person's fundamental information processing such as delusion, withdrawal, and unconscious trance, not to mention a malfunction in the way the person's brain "constructs reality."
One of the most widely used, but least recognized deep techniques is gradualism. Whether used by a salesman or a terrocrat, it is subtle, yet very powerful. Much of the of "government" (so-called) has been allowed to occur as a result of gradualism. There is an old proverb that says if you put a frog in boiling water it will jump out, but if you put it in cold water and gradually raise the temperature, by the time the frog realizes what is going on it will be too weak from the high temperature to escape, will be cooked, and will die. This is what tyrants and bureaucrats have been doing for years - gradually and steadily increasing their totalitarian control (temperature) to the point were most people are too weak and/or ignorant to do anything about it - they've been cooked!
This principle is also used by salesmen. If a salesman were to ask you to buy something you were not interested in "cold turkey," you would probably turn him down. But if he gradually got you talking with him you would be more likely to buy from him. This is known as "the foot in the door technique," derived from door-to-door salesmen. For example, a salesman comes to your door selling the deluxe encyclopedia Britannica for a ridiculous price. He would not simply walk up to your door and say "Would you like to buy a set of encyclopedias for $1000?" He would likely get the door slammed in his face. What he does instead is come to your door and ask "Do you want your children to do well in school?" The obvious answer is yes, as most parents want their children to do well. He would then likely ask you some more questions about your children and school, and then recommend that you purchase his encyclopedias to "help your children" (not to mention make the sale). By getting the person to open up to him, just a little, the salesman uses gradualism to make his sale much easier. This is also known as the "yes technique," or the "agreeable technique." What the salesman (politician, lawyer, con artist) essentially does is get the person saying yes ("you want your children to do well in school don't you?") by asking one sided questions. (Note: this is also an example of lack of consciousness.) Due to gradualism the person is then more likely to continue saying yes without critically examining each subsequent question being asked. This many sound ludicrous but I have often witnessed people buy "vego-matics" that they did not want or need as a result of how "agreeable the salesman was."
The aspect of human consciousness that makes gradualism possible has been labeled by psychologists as the "Just Noticeable Difference" threshold (JND). The reason the JND exists is due to the (current) nature of human perception. Humans do not primarily perceive those aspects of their environment that are constant, they perceive those aspects that change. If the human brain noticed all the information the senses took in, it would experience sensory overload. After all, you don't need to be reminded every five minutes that your shoes are tied - you just need to know when they come untied (change). This is noticeable when you move into a new neighborhood. When you first move in, you notice every minute detail because it is a new environment. As time passes and you get more familiar with the new environment however, you tend to notice less and less, until the only things you notice are those aspects that change. Essentially you are lulled into a state of unconsciousness about your environment. Ideally, a person who is truly conscious could at will perceive the neighborhood the same way she did when she first moved in. This process of getting used to something is known as sensory adaptation. Another example is when you first jump into a cold pool it feels cold, but as your body gets used to this change, you no longer notice the cold.
Researchers have found the JND of most people to be around 10%. That is, for a set period of time most people will not notice a difference or change of 10%. Retail store owners are very aware of this - they often price their goods so that there are certain "cut off points" or "thresholds" where an increase or decrease in price will be noticed or not noticed by the customer.
A corollary to the Just Noticeable Difference threshold is the "Mere Exposure" effect. Psychologists have pointed out that the mere exposure effect is when someone becomes more attached to something or someone "merely" because he or she is "exposed" to the person or thing frequently. For example, you may have noticed that when you ride a bus to work every day you may see the same stranger day in and day out. You may not know the stranger, but as you see him more and more he seems less intimidating and more appealing. You may even acquire a certain fondness for his presence, and may strike up a conversation with him, even though you do not know whether he is a mass murderer or not. This is the mere exposure effect in action.
Another trick used by businessmen, con artists, and particularly magicians is the simple principle of "selective attention." Human consciousness is such that we can only attend to a fraction of the information that our senses bring us; we (obviously) can't perceive everything. Therefore the key to manipulating someone is to manipulate what he or she attends to. The magician, con artists, and even politicians use this trick. It's the "look at my right hand while my left hand is screwing you" trick. As was explained in the section on the brain, this is doing something in such a way that it avoids being incorporated into the brain's "construction of reality."
Social Roles, Context, Social
Pressure, Groupthink, and Crowds
Most people spend a considerable amount of time interacting with other people. This interaction influences most people to one degree or another. The more conscious an individual is, the less influence others will have on him or her. Many people, unfortunately, are relatively unconscious in this area, and are therefore highly susceptible to the influence of others.
When two or more people are put together in a certain environment, certain phenomena occur that would not occur otherwise. Psychologists have discovered certain phenomena when people are in groups. One of these tendencies is called the "bystander effect." This is when a group of people see a negative event occur, but no individual does anything about it, as each person in the group believes that someone else will do something about it. For example, a person could be lying in the middle of the sidewalk on a busy street bleeding to death and asking for help, but everyone will ignore him, expecting someone else to do something about it.
A related tendency is called "social loafing." An example of this is when students are grouped together to do group projects, they all tend to slack off and get very little done, each believing that the others will do the work. This is one reason (among many) why socialism will never work. The incentive or expectation is to let others do the work. In their book The Great Reckoning, James Dale Davidson and Lord William Rees-Mogg call this an "incentive trap." Just like many situations, the key to understanding is to be conscious of the incentive involved.
Both of these situations involve a depersonalization of cause and effect. It's the "it doesn't have to do with me" type of attitude. Another example of this depersonalization in action occurs at the ballot box. A person may vote a certain way in order to extort money from someone else in the form of taxes. The person voting to raise the other person's taxes has depersonalized the situation. This is what all so-called "special interests" are about. A way to overcome this is to personalize the situation. For example, if someone thinks that someone should "pay taxes" then that person should personally take his gun and use it to force his neighbor to pay such "taxes" - and shoot him if he refuses.
Depersonalizing a situation can be useful, such as in dealing with emotions, but it can also be dangerous, such as when in crowds. When people depersonalize an action, they may do things that they would not normally do, because they do not have to take responsibility for what they depersonalize. For example, the puritans would burn women suspected of being "witches." None of the people in the crowd would have done that individually, because then he or she would have been personally responsible for the murder of that person. But that same person would burn the "witch" in an instant in the midst of a crowd because he or she would not have to take personal responsibility. After all, "the crowd did it." In this mode of thinking it becomes irrelevant that the "crowd" is made up of individuals acting on their own. The "crowd" however, "causes" people to disassociate from themselves. They essentially "lose" themselves amidst the action of the group.
Elias Cannetti in his book Crowds and Power gives a penetrating analysis of people in crowds and how many people actually desire to lose themselves as a result of their self-dislike and/or as a result of their need for "external authority." Furthermore, such crowds usually are based on a "crusade" or "great cause" and the "true believers" in the crowd believe that the crusade will solve their problems. This crowd phenomenon essentially causes people to revert to a less evolved state of consciousness. Since people in crowds typically follow "groupthink," they lack critical awareness and rarely think for themselves. It is relatively easy to manipulate people in crowds through the use of simplified phrases and slogans, such as those used by Hitler. As Gustave Le Bon explains in his book The Crowd, "All the world's masters, all the founders of religions or empires, the apostles of all beliefs, eminent statesmen, and, in a more modest sphere, the mere chiefs of small groups of men, have always been unconscious psychologists of an instinctive and often very sure knowledge of the character of crowds, and it is their accurate knowledge that has enabled them to so easily establish their mastery."
This type of groupthink and blind obedience is also why such things as the death camps where allowed to happen at all. After World War II this question was examined by psychologist Stanly Milgram. He came up with an experiment that showed that people have an amazing tendency toward blind obedience. See his book Obedience and Authority: An Experimental View.
Social interaction can also be used to manipulate in a number of other ways. When we were children we were taught (often coercively), certain things - like how we are "supposed" to behave, how to be polite, etc. This is sometimes called the "socialization process," (more like "the coercive brainwashing process"). Throughout much of our childhood we are subjected to "authority" - parents, teachers, bosses, politicians etc., and are usually told what to do. This makes people expect to be told what to do. Con artists, etc. take advantage of this by simply telling people what to do. Most people unconsciously comply because they have been programmed over the years to do just that. This is also why people tend to automatically give answers when they are questioned, without first considering if they should. As explained previously, the way to overcome such things is to raise your level of consciousness, take personal control and responsibility for your own development, and start thinking for yourself.
As a result of this socialization process, each of develops a personal metaphysics - or our brain's "construction of reality." This includes our ideas about ourselves, others, things like the supposed "government," etc. As mentioned in the previous paragraph the way we are "supposed" to think and act in certain circumstances is a large part of this. For example, most people are taught that you calmly sit while in a church - most people would typically not think of getting up and dancing in the middle of a sermon. How we think about and act in any particular situation is largely due to the expectations we hold of that situation. Many of these are cultural assumptions.
It could be said that one of the purposes of "socialization" (so-called) is to train us what not to see - to limit our consciousness, our perspectives, and our brain's construction of reality. At birth the human brain could see a potentially infinite number of perspectives. Since the brain can only deal with a limited amount of information at any one time however, this range of perspectives needed to be narrowed down to the one(s) that were the most functional for survival in the particular environment the person found himself. This was the role of the "socialization process" of primitive man. This process has carried over to present times to a certain degree and manifests itself in the form of "social acceptance." It is unfortunate that this process still determines the development of many people because not only is it no longer beneficial, it has become very detrimental to the advancement of humanity. In an age that requires greater consciousness and the ability to look at things in an ever-increasing number of ways, anything that limits these abilities is destructive. This aspect of human behavior does not have to affect you, however. As described previously, you can take conscious control of your own development and behavior. If you do so, any negative deep techniques that are applied through the manipulation of "social acceptance" will have no effect on you.
Social influence can also play a big role in influencing emotions. Many people fear being a nonconformist or "looking stupid" amidst a group of other people because they may be laughed at or kicked out of the "in tribe." This also manifests itself in what could be called the "bigger lie theory." As the old saying goes, "the bigger the lie, the more people will believe it." Essentially, if enough people are afraid of not conforming and pointing out a lie, then everyone will believe the lie. This is demonstrated by the parable about the "emperor who had no clothes." To summarize the story, an emperor was conned into believing that he had purchased a pair of clothes when in reality he had not. When he started walking around naked, everyone was afraid to be a dissenter and point out that he was naked. Essentially, everyone was lying to each other, and lying to themselves. It took the honest, unbiased perspective of a little child to point out that "the emperor has no clothes!" This is similar to pointing out that most if not all "governments" (so-called) are frauds or hoaxes. The difference is that we also ask the question, "Why do call this naked man "emperor" (so-called)?"
Positive Deep Techniques
Positive deep techniques are used to both counteract negative deep techniques and to function and produce results in a more effective and efficient way. In fact, it could be said that human advancement depends to some degree on the identification and utilization of positive deep techniques.
If you study the materials on this website, you'll find many more explicit and implicit examples of positive deep techniques. The report on how to deal with bureaucrats #TL10A: How Bureaucrats Think and How to Leap Across Them is a good example. So are the 'Millionaire Reports'.
Consciousness and Thinking
The fundamental positive deep technique that underlies all other deep techniques is to raise your level of consciousness. If you are not aware of when to use deep techniques, or when they are being used against you, knowing the rest will be of little use.
The next most important deep technique is to question everything, especially what you already "know," or what you normally wouldn't question. In #TL20: The Principles of Meta-Knowledge it is pointed out that all "knowledge," or our brains construction of reality, is an approximation of reality, and that it only serves an individual as long as it is useful, or in other words, as long as it produces results. The idea is to frequently question, or test our ideas and construction of reality in order to prevent getting stuck with "faulty ideas" that cause unproductive or negative results. If you develop the ability to critically question things, then you can better determine the nature of the idea or construction and determine whether it is functional or not. For example, If you can critically question what is being done when someone is trying to intimidate you using a negative deep technique, you will recognize what is being done, and you'll be able to counteract it.
Another fundamental positive deep technique is learn to look at things from many perspectives. For example, in a dispute with another person, you could look at it from his or her perspective to see how the situation might be better resolved. The majority of people I have seen spend most of their lives thinking about things from one set perspective. This greatly limits their ability to deal with ever-changing situations. Developing the ability to step out of the current mental model, or perspective gives you far greater freedom and skill in dealing with a wide variety of situations. Since every perspective an individual can take has a limited range of usefulness, a large repertoire of perspectives is needed in order to function in all of the differing situations you may find yourself. When you stop and think about it, the amount of tasks and situations humans need to sufficiently function in is quite amazing. The way we do this is by having both a variety of "programs" and the ability to look at things from many perspectives.
One very useful perspective is to look at things from a "meta-perspective." Meta-perspectives or meta-positions actually consist of several thinking skills. One ability is to completely remove yourself from the perspective or situation, as if you had never seen it before. Look at it as a Martian might examine it: without any preconceived ideas.
A second meta-position thinking skill is to not only analyze a situation, but to analyze the way you analyze the situation. In other words, study your own thought process when analyzing the situation. For example, a business man uses a mental decision analysis "program" to make an important business decision. Taking a meta-position would entail him examining the very thought process or "program" that he was using to evaluate the situation.
This examination of your thinking process is a fundamental tool that "creative problem solvers" implement. The reason for this is that the perspective or approach you use to solve a problem will affect your attempts at coming up with solutions. The perspective from which you attack a problem could be called your context or perceptual set. One example of this is: How would you get the number "6" from the amount of "V" with only one change? In this case the obvious answer would be to add "I" to get "VI" - using Roman numerals to get "six." On the other hand, how could you get the number "6" from the amount "IX" in only one move? In this case the answer could be to add "S" to get "SIX." The reason this answer is less obvious is because the first question got you to use the perceptual set of Roman numerals, rather being open to a number of perspectives. Changing your perspective of a problem could be called "reframing," which is a very useful way to look at things from new perspectives. The key here is to be conscious of and open to the perspective or perceptual set you use.
As explained in a previous section, humans are not conscious of reality "as it is," but of our brain's construction of it. At any given time our brain only selects certain pieces of information from our sensory awareness. Since it would be impossible for us to deal with all the available information, we use "heuristics" or models to guide us. Essentially these are shortcuts for us to use in dealing with the world. A heuristic could also be in the form of a question like a tool. You might ask, "What mental tool do I need for this." So it is useful for us to come up with conscious heuristic questions to ask ourselves to deal with varying situations. For example, when searching for information I might ask myself "is this information useful? Is it valid? How can I move it around?" Unfortunately, most of the time people develop their heuristics unconsciously or through habit.
One problem with heuristics, however, is that they often blind us to other ways of looking at things, or to other perceptual sets. A tool to overcome this, as explained, is to become aware of and to question the heuristic you are using. Since the heuristic or perspective you are using is largely based on the sensory information your brain is using for its "reality construction," the key to changing your perceptual set is to become conscious of different information. For example, instead of looking at the information that makes me think of a situation as "bad," I could look for the "good" in it. This is taking control of your own perceptions, rather than being controlled by them. Controlling your perceptions is a fundamental thinking skill. If you keep in mind that no one perspective is complete or functional, and that there is always a different or better way of looking at something, then you will be more able to select a different perceptual set. Once you see something from a new perspective, it becomes very difficult to see it in only a limited way.
Also as a result of the "brain construction," it is useful when learning new things to link it to something you already know. If you do this you (your brain) only has to add on a small piece, rather than creating a whole new segment. For example, Russell Thomas recently used this technique himself while learning how to program the computer language "C." Instead of thinking of it as computer gibberish that he knew nothing about, he approached it as if he were learning to speak a new language - which he had done before and knew how to do.
An additional useful "tool" perspective comes from systems theory. This perspective is the ability to see both "the whole" and the "individual part." Peter Senge in The Fifth Discipline calls this the "art of seeing both the forest and the trees." An example of this is to study the individual parts of the human body themselves, and then still have the ability to study how the parts of the body work together as a whole to form a living being. In other words, the ability to hold more than one perspective in your mind a once; in this case the body organ, and the whole body process system.
There are several reasons why keeping whole systems in mind, rather than just parts, is important. The primary one is nonlinear effects. A nonlinear relationship occurs when a small action leads to a very large consequence. In other words, it is an action that creates results far larger than would "normally" be expected. This could be called the "snowball effect." As the name implies, just as a small snowball can become a large snow boulder when rolled down a hill, certain small actions can lead to very large results. In such situations momentum can take over and produce tremendous results. Another example of this is multi-level marketing. An MLM marketer may "sponsor" someone in his or her "downline," and that person may then bring in thousands of customers. The result then, is extremely large for the first person, relative to the initial action taken. This type of nonlinear result is one of the reasons why Build Freedom used multi-level marketing to get off the ground.
One final deep technique dealing with systems could be called "stepping out of the system." Whenever we think about something, we think about it at one level of abstraction. Stepping out of the system entails shifting to a different level of abstraction. For example, if two people are debating whether the democrats or the republicans are better, they are within or have "bought into that system." Then a third person could enter the debate and "step out of the system" the first two people were in, by shifting to a different level of abstraction. In this case shifting to a different level of abstraction could entail questioning why these two people feel that other people that call themselves "republicans" and "democrats" should run their lives. In this example the first two people were swaying back and forth like a pendulum of a clock, but the third person steps out of the clock altogether.
An additional deep-technique thought process that is important could be called "results-oriented consciousness." This is basically the ability to focus on the results you want, rather than getting bogged down in trivialities. This is an "ends-over-means" type of thinking that holds true as long as an individual does not infringe upon another's life or property. In this sense, focusing on results is paramount. This method of thinking could be called "qualified pragmatism." A useful heuristic question you can ask yourself to keep this in mind is, "Is the activity I am engaged in being done as a means to an ends, or as an ends unto itself?"
A positive deep technique pointed out by Robert Fritz in The Path of Least Resistance is to always be in the "creative orientation" or perspective. This way of thinking constitutes many things, one of which is to act upon, rather than being acted upon. Creating what you want puts you in a much stronger position than fighting what you don't want, for several reasons. First, if you create something, when you are done, you have what you want. If you are fighting negatives, when you are done you only have an absence of what you don't want. Second, you tend to become like what you dwell upon. If you dwell upon negatives, you will likely become negative. This conscious method also includes taking responsibility for all results produced, as opposed to blaming external circumstances for results produced. Explaining things in the former manner tends to put you in a position of power; explaining things in the latter tends to put you in a position of helplessness.
Whether you realize it or not, the results you currently have are the results of past actions. Relatively little is due to outside circumstances. Thinking in this way in itself could almost be considered a deep technique in and of itself. You have control over your actions, but you do not have control over the consequences of your actions. The results you produce should then be used as feedback to let you know whether and to what degree your actions need to be changed. Taking responsibility for your actions, although not really a deep technique, is a fundamental understanding required to implement any deep technique.
Furthermore, Robert Fritz lays out some guidelines for approaching life creatively. Frederick Mann has named this technique the "pivotal power formula." The first step is to visualize what you want to create. The better your visualization abilities, the better this technique will work. The second is to realize the current state of reality as it applies to what you want to create. The third step is to formally choose what it is that you want. Finally, you move on and do something. This leads to a type of tension, which Fritz calls "structural tension," which is created in your brain and which guides you to producing the creation you envisioned. The amount of difference between what you envision and what currently is, determines the amount of structural tension. As you progress toward your given goal, you will build momentum toward achieving it until the creation is completed.
One additional positive deep technique that can be used to achieve what you want could be called "pulling yourself into the future you want." What this entails is speaking of things as if they already are as you want them to be. This technique also creates a type of "tension" in the brain and it becomes in effect a self fulfilling prophecy.
Following is a list of thinking skill concepts for dealing with deep techniques you might want to consider:
Power is a fundamental aspect of deep techniques. Individual power is the force that distinguishes each individual from all others. Power is used and manipulated on a continual basis by people, either consciously or unconsciously, for good or ill. Most of the techniques used to con and manipulate people puts the victims in a position of powerlessness, and the perpetrator in a position of power. Therefore it is necessary to understand and utilize personal power to defeat negative deep techniques and to implement positive deep techniques or counter deep techniques.
A person who is personally powerful is less likely to be manipulated or conned easily. Unfortunately, most people seem to function in the "I'm not a threat to you, but you are a threat to me" mode. Many people do this because they fear being powerful and fear their own power. They would prefer to give it away than have to deal with it. This creates a position of helplessness, and actually makes the person more vulnerable to negative deep techniques. After all, as the saying goes, animals can sense fear. Furthermore, if you act like a doormat, you will be stepped on.
It is necessary to distinguish types of power. One type of power is abstract power. This is image, perceived power, not real power. Then there is real power, which is physical power - this essentially is coercive power - the power which stems from the barrel of a gun. Finally there is performance power, which is personal power, or the ability to achieve what one wants.
When dealing with other people, especially potentially dangerous people, it is important to realize that they are only human with the same two eyes, the same two hands and probably less intelligence than you. People who try to unfairly manipulate others usually only have a little more insight into human nature than average - and they tend to use their insight in destructive ways. Once you understand how power works, it is no longer intimidating or threatening. In fact, it becomes, well, quite empowering!
To defeat people who practice negative deep techniques, you must not only develop your own personal power, you must understand the power of others. There are several key deep-technique insights into the power of others that you must learn. First, when you are manipulated, you are giving permission to the other person to manipulate you. If you don't give him permission, he won't have power over you. Essentially you are giving permission to be put in the weak position. Often, in the animal kingdom prey has to give permission to be preyed upon - if you turn the tables, take a "meta-position" (for more information on this see #TL20: The Principles of Meta-Knowledge) and go on the "attack," you have withdrawn your permission to be preyed upon, and gain the powerful position by being on the attack.
Furthermore, the power of the other person is largely power as you perceive it - or how your brain "constructs reality." You assign the power of the other person in your own mind. If you assign the person total power, you put yourself in a position of weakness, but if you give the other person no power, you put yourself in a position of strength. Better still, do not focus your attention on the power of the other person, focus on your own power. You have the most control over yourself and your own power. If you take personal responsibility for events - it puts you in a position of power to change them. If you blame external forces for events it puts you in a position of weakness. I am the source of all power for me. Refuse to relinquish your power to others.
Personally powerful people have other characteristics as well. Personally powerful people can see through others, but can not be seen through. They take advantage of certain techniques such as body posture - standing appears more powerful than sitting. They use speaking techniques - such as voice inflection and silence; nothing can be as unnerving as silence from someone. Most of all, personally powerful people have mastered themselves. You cannot master others until you first master yourself. Personally powerful people are flexible. They have the ability to behave in a variety of ways in a variety of situations. This flexibility also carries over into the realm of how such people perceive things. If you can be flexible about how you perceive things, you are powerful. The ability to recognize things puts you in a position of power, not being able to recognize something puts you in a position of weakness.
Personally powerful people have also mastered posture. Posture deals with the complete way someone behaves. Posture is attitude, and control. Posture is asking questions.
Just as every particular social context or frame has certain expected roles, so too do these roles come with certain expected assigned power. As will be explained in the next section, you do not have to be trapped by these situations, however.
Semantic Deep Techniques
Almost every aspect of life is permeated with words. Much of our "knowledge" is in the form of words. In fact, language is one of the fundamental ways our brains create our "reality construction." If there is a word to describe something, it is easy to hold the concept, but if there is no word, it is difficult to consider something.
One way of explaining the significance of language is to make a distinction between "physical reality," and "social reality," which could also be called "semantic reality." The idea of a physical reality represents the physical nature of the way things are, and the idea of the social or semantic reality represents the interpretation people have or the language they use to describe it. An example of this is what most people call "taxes." The physical reality of this situation is a person or group of people threatening others with violence if they do not give them money. People give the social and semantic interpretation of this as "taxes" are the moral duty to pay for "government." Since people assign semantic labels to a situation, one label could be "voluntary compliance to pay your fair share." Another semantic label could be "armed thugs using threat of violence to extort money." This is the same physical reality, but with two totally different social or semantic explanations.
This leads to an important insight of language: words do not have meanings; people have meanings for words. For example, take the word "cat." Is the meaning (concept of the animal) contained in the letter "c," the letter "a," or the letter "t?" Or is it in the spaces between the letters? The answer is that the meaning (concept related to the word) is in your brain. Therefore, words do not have meanings; people have meanings for words. It is important not to confuse the word, with the actual thing. This is called word-thing identification. We can never completely express what an experience was like with words, because when we use words it is always in the form "like something else." For a listener to understand someone else's experience, they would have to have experienced this "something else" exactly as the original person experienced it, which for practical purposes is impossible. In other words, whatever you say something is, it's not that. The thing is not the noise out of someone's mouth or the scribble of someone's pen, it is what it is. You can point to it if you want, but saying that an object is a noise or a scribble is really a lie - but a "useful lie," absolutely necessary for communication.
Since people have meanings for words, rather than words having meanings, everyone has there own definition for any particular word. When a group of people agree on their meanings for certain words it is said that there is a social construction of language. Furthermore, you can create only an approximate representation of something, using words. One person may talk about a "cat" but the idea of "cat" to someone else may significantly differ from what the person speaking means. When using words you can determine through observation and feedback whether the person you are communicating with seems to have similar concepts to yours for those particular words.
The use of words inevitably distorts the brain's "reality construction." In the case of the example given, the only way for the person to be certain he was expressing himself accurately would be to grab the "cat" and point to it in front of the other person.
One negative deep technique is through the use of what are called "referentless nominalizations." Referentless nominalizations are sounds or scribbles (words) that supposedly refer to something, but in fact do not refer to anything concrete in physical reality. Since people create meanings for words, each person will then create an idea in his own brain as a definition. For example if someone says the word "cat" he can point to the animal in physical space. But if someone says something like "mysticism" or "society," the person has nothing to point to other than a collection of people or buildings. The person he is speaking to then creates his or her own definition for that "thing." Words such as "government" or "society" are nothing more than hypothetical constructs, or imaginary concepts. In both cases there is no physical object to point to, only a collection of people, buildings, etc. Each person then has his or her own concept of what they mean by these words.
In each particular life situation, people hold certain expectations. These expectations are partly what create their "semantic reality." In one case, people hold certain expectations of how people and words will relate to each other. For example people in one context, such as a church will use language in a totally different way from people in a bank. In each case people will have totally different expectations of the word "save," and thus will use it differently. A problem, lack of communication, or opportunity to use negative deep techniques arise when there is conflict or confusion over which semantic environment is being applied. Confusion arises when this happens unintentionally, semantic negative deep techniques are being applied if done purposely.
Each semantic reality has vocabulary specific to its particular case. Also, the words you choose to use, select or create the semantic reality you are in. Some people get stuck in one semantic reality, and thus one way of thinking. For example, someone may talk of bureaucrats only as "government officials" and thus think about them in only one way. One could talk about them in a different way, such as "territorial gangsters," and thus think about them in a different way.
Good or bad language is not a matter of how it is used, it is a matter of whether or not it communicates the desired idea effectively or not within a given semantic reality. If semantic reality could also be called "semantic environment," then using a word in a context different from the one in which a discussion is taking place could be called "semantic pollution."
Sloppy use of language frequently causes problems. For example, someone might say "the car turned left," or "I turned the water on," instead of saying "I turned the car left," or "I turned the handle to turn on the water." A common semantic mistake is called "anthropomorphizing," which is assigning human traits to an inanimate object. Sloppy use of language causes "sloppy thinking" and thus makes it easier to manipulate language when using negative deep techniques.
Furthermore, the more complex the language being used, the more opportunity for semantic mistakes or negative semantic deep techniques to be used. That is why most lawyers, politicians, etc. use such complex language. The solution to this problem is to use simpler language.
Many negative deep techniques are implemented through the use of language. In fact, the choice of the very semantic reality itself can be used as a deep technique. Whoever chooses the semantic reality of a given situation is the one who is in control and who has power. For example, a lawyer may choose a semantic reality or use of words which make him out to be important and have "authority" because he is "licensed." For his "authority" to be accepted, his semantic reality needs to be accepted. A positive semantic deep technique would be to question or reject the semantic reality he is creating. To do this you could simply reject any supposed "authority" such a piece of paper is supposed to hold by some. When the semantic premise he is using is exposed, so is his scam. Another example of this is to reject the semantic reality that someone like a supposed "president" creates. If everyone were to laugh at this so-called "president" and create a semantic reality that he instead was a "Buffoon," then his power would be nullified. So in effect, when you accept the language someone uses, you are accepting the construction of reality they are proposing.
The basis of much mind control is done through the use of language. By making one use of language, and thus one semantic reality, through the common way people speak, terrocrats can instill their construction of reality. This was the basis of "Newspeak" in George Orwell's epic novel 1984. With each "revised" issue of the "nation's" dictionary, the people bought more and more into "big brother's" construction of reality. This was also the basis of Ayn Rand's novel, Anthem. In that novel, people had no concept of the word "I." They only knew the word "we." Therefore the only way they could think about self-identification was in a collective sense.
This use of language to install slavery could be called "Slavespeak". The language we use to expose it and spread freedom could be called "Freespeak." As explained before, words are merely symbols for concepts. Therefore two new terms could be coined. One is that of a "holdcept." This is a word which keeps people stuck or "holds" them in a certain way of thinking. An example of this is the use of "we" and the lack of the use of "I" in the previous paragraph. Another term that could be coined is a "jumpcept." These are words that cause a person to start thinking in a knew way or to "jump" into a new mode of thinking. An example of a jumpcept is the term "terrocrat." This word is short for terrorist bureaucrat or coercive political agent, which is a word that causes people to think in new ways about bureaucrats. Holdcepts are used very often by preachers and politicians; jumpcepts are very useful in getting people to change the way they think.
Other negative uses of semantics include euphemistic labels, otherwise known as "politically correct terms," contradictory terms and ambiguous terms. One example of the use of a contradictory term is the expression "voluntary compliance" on the IRS 1040 form. Does this mean that it is voluntary or mandatory? Such use of language is called "equivocation," and is essentially gibberish used with intent to confuse. The German philosopher Wittgenstein sums up my feelings on this particular instance well: "My aim is to teach you to pass from a piece of disguised nonsense to something that is patent nonsense."
Often, self-contradictory terms such as "voluntary compliance" are used to create confusion and to reduce the critical faculties of the victims who accept and use such terms as if they are valid.. Another example of this is the term "passive resistance." A very common use of language to deceive is the euphemism. Some examples of euphemistic labels are "department of defense" instead of "department of war," or "script assimilation," instead of "forgery." Every time such use of language is accepted by an individual, he is one step closer to being the victim of "Newspeak" as described by George Orwell.
Another common negative semantic deep technique involves the manipulation of the inflection of the language used. Bertrand Russell has a great example of this: "I am firm, you are obstinate, he is pig headed." Another example of the use of inflection is the statement "state troopers gun down students," verses the statement, "state troopers kill students in self defense." Journalists are especially adept at using this negative deep technique. Journalists are also especially good at taking something someone said totally out of context and associating meanings with it entirely different from what was intended.
A final negative semantic deep technique is to get people to associate a certain thought, feeling or idea with a certain word. In this sense the power of a word lies in the image it provokes. An example of this is how the bureaucrats try to get people to automatically associate fear or the idea of being found guilty of some tax crime with the abbreviation "IRS." In effect, this technique is like a push button on a machine - just push the right word and the person eagerly submits in fear.
There are several skills you can learn to become aware of and to counteract negative semantic deep techniques. A general heuristic question you might want to ask yourself is: "What semantic reality does this particular use of language create?" If you are aware of the semantic reality a particular word or words create then you can more easily reject that semantic reality and choose another.
A second skill you can develop that will assist you in avoiding semantics in your thinking altogether is visual thinking. If you think about the world in pictures, rather than in words you can more accurately think about (mentally represent) the world and at the same time you avoid the pitfalls of using language.
One tool that people in general should develop is to create frames of reference in their own language so they can more easily recognize what semantic reality they are creating with their language. In this case, a person could even state what semantic reality he is creating when using certain language.
The final and very important way to overcome negative semantic deep techniques is to take responsibility for the contents of your own brain. In this case that would mean taking control of the meanings you have for words and to realize that the meanings of these words are in your brain.
[continued in Part II -- coming soon]