Print Story Four.
By technician (Fri Sep 25, 2020 at 09:33:52 PM EST) (all tags)
In the interests of society, we need to come up with a linguistic antivirus.

We need to find a sub-conscious language that can tune the understanding of humans. Memetic things that can beat the snot out of the oxytocin hit that "winning on the internet" gives a human.

Something swift.

Or Swiftian.

I'm not entirely sure that the world as we currently know it would be, would exist, without social media, and the 24/7 news cycle.

Both are an off-shoot of our desire to be right. The same thing that drove us to create things like the television, the internet, radio, the printing press: we needed to control data. Oh sure, some call that "learning" but it's been sharpened into a drug habit, a series of brain chemical hits that we seem to want more than anything else.

Our parents are especially susceptible.

The bad guys figured this out very early on. Russia has weaponized this, because they have the audacity to believe it and the desire to understand how to wield it. They've got entire units of folks dedicated to engineering emotion.

China only has one unit, building 67. They're OK but not as well tuned to western emotion; to them everything that drives westerners is short-term financial, and our ideologies don't have the horsepower to overtake greed. To a certain extent they're right, but Russia has better tuning around ideology, and they've learned that we pose, we posture, with as much energy as we claim to believe.

Thus, a president in the US who embodies every sin, who is worshiped by a cult of believers that know that he is an empty suit, a criminal of the highest order, but Trump's presidency gives them an overt opportunity to prove their faith, and a covert opportunity to win at all cost, to burn the crops and salt the land.

That smug smile is the hit of chemistry, the drug they were addicted to by a foreign enemy.

And that hit of chemistry is what we need to cure them of. We need to approach this like you approach a loved one who is in a cult, and that cult feeds them heroin.

So, how do we re-program them? I'm thinking some combination of language that they feel they need to adhere to, and a better chemical hit. I'm not sure how to do that. So it's time to study harder, and get linguistics, religion, neuroscience, and psychology all in the same room with the same dire  charge: it's time to save the goddamn world.

Now if only I had any capability whatsoever.

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Four. | 8 comments (8 topical, 0 hidden)
I, sir, am a linguistic virus! by atreides (4.00 / 2) #1 Fri Sep 25, 2020 at 10:58:39 PM EST
Would you end me like that?!?

He sails from world to world in a flying tomb, serving gods who eat hope.

You are a human! by technician (2.00 / 0) #2 Sat Sep 26, 2020 at 10:37:40 AM EST
I myself am a meat popsicle.

[ Parent ]
Not new, just metastasized by wumpus (4.00 / 1) #3 Sat Sep 26, 2020 at 01:20:52 PM EST
[TL/DR]: I ended with "I'd expect that any existing research is from cult behavior, and that funding for such is limited to protect established religions from any questions. But I'd look there first". I suspect that's the only thing worth taking from this whole ramble.[/TL:DR]

Marketing has been doing similar for ages. I remembe reading "The Hidden Persuaders" in the 1980s and not already had everything questionable then been assume "just how the world works" by the 1980s, but things mentioned as banned in the 1950s were legal like TV ads insisting that you needs laxatives to keep you "regular".

I'm not surprised that Russia learned the lesson well. "Religion is the opiate of the masses". They also learned that communist ideology works as a similar opiate, and help design other dangerous ideologies that produce a similar high and addiction.

Unfortunately, while I've seen modern problems pointed out before, I can't think of a good solution. This (voice synthesize youtube comments back at the writer) was one of the early xkcd cartoons. David Brin's (the SF writer famous for Uplift books, not the Google guy) The Transparent Society dealt with privacy (mostly thanks to cellphone cameras) but didn't take into account that most privacy issues are the powerful grabbing all available information on people and heavily mining it for any useful tools.

This is just the first wave. The second will be personally tailored for the user. Some will convince people that they are among the few who know what is really going on, others will be convinced that they are among the "silent majority" who oppose the elites. But for every "truth that is out there", expect many narratives constructed to fit your biases and thrown your direction. There's only so much education can help when dealing with such lies, and they've been working on them since the Tobacco Institute learned it was easy to convince smokers that it was ok to smoke.

But I think you are right about a chemical solution/issue. Education and thinking don't work on the population, and have trouble the more effort is put into the lies. Consider the history of bias in science. Supposedly the pinnacle of such thought, it still screws up over and over again, typically without groups trying desperately to push the issue (sure, they can discount the Tobacco Institute and well funded climate denialists, but look at how Darwin's competition among individuals was co-opted by racists, classists, and anybody else with an axe to grind. The basic theory wasn't rescued until "The Selfish Gene" was published in the 1970s.

I'm fortunate not to have such direct contact with such people. I doubt my father will live long enough for someone to convince him that "aliens want him to vote for Trump Jr", but my parents have given up on privacy and that's the end result I expect. I'd expect that any existing research is from cult behavior, and that funding for such is limited to protect established religions from any questions. But I'd look there first.


Compare to loot boxes. by wumpus (4.00 / 1) #4 Sat Sep 26, 2020 at 02:01:19 PM EST
Gambling has a well known biochemistry. Loot boxes are gambling often marketed to children/teens and ignore most other gambling regulation. They also don't have a long-term symbiotic relationship with legislators/governments that other political operation have. And after what, a decade?, they are finally under attack by the feds in the US.

No to mention the ideologies created already have built-in defenses against a chemical/pharmaceutical response. They already convince the hosts not to get vaccines that will keep them and their families alive, I can't imagine what it will take for them to take something that will take away their fox news hit.

Not seeing the effects in person, does it wear out? Do victims keep "chasing the high" by going to stronger and stronger levels, finding Fox has "sold out" and going on to OAN? Or do they just follow Fox out of habit, their behavior and ideas irrevocably changed, but no longer getting that high (this is probably the worst case, and there isn't much you can do about it).


[ Parent ]
I recently read an op/ed on truth sandwiches by lm (4.00 / 1) #5 Sat Sep 26, 2020 at 02:20:10 PM EST
It looks like it might be legit. But I haven't been able to find any solid actual research on it. Most of the academic writing out there is by George Lakoff who seems to have invented the idea.

The tldr; version is that if you're trying to debunk someone you should sandwich the untruth between two truths because leading or ending with the untruth just leads to the people believing the untruth to dig in harder.

So if one were to counter the untruth that lm is a hot Asian chick, you would say something like this: "Everyone knows that lm is a middle aged white guy, despite the untrue rumors that lm is a hot Asian Chick. Seriously, lm is as white as mayonnaise."

It'd be interesting to see objective research of the efficacy of this idea. There is certainly loads of research that confirm the phenomenon the truth sandwich is meant to counter, most people just double down on a falsehood if you correct a wrong idea with true facts.

Kindness is an act of rebellion.
Lakoff by jimgon (2.00 / 0) #6 Sun Sep 27, 2020 at 04:54:13 PM EST
He was and is the pioneer. I have always been disappointed that no one paid attention to what he was writing about: linguistic framing, I’ve spent a decade trying to get people to read his books. 

Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
[ Parent ]
こんにちわ! by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #8 Mon Sep 28, 2020 at 02:23:46 PM EST
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
People are being radicalized by Phil the Canuck (4.00 / 1) #7 Mon Sep 28, 2020 at 09:10:10 AM EST
How does that end? Typically with violence or a trip to the psych ward. Or both.

Four. | 8 comments (8 topical, 0 hidden)