Do you enjoy being scammed?
Do you like being sold products that are shoddy, toxic and unnecessary?
Do you benefit from wasting your time supporting the pet projects of politicians, celebrities and social-media morons?
When you’re subject to semantics of any kind – mathematics included, – you’re open to cognitive attack from all sides. Because you operate on the assumption that words and symbols have anything to do with truth or reality.
This missive will fly three birds without any stones.
> It will raise your awareness of the most widespread cognitive blunder that is exploited by all manner of scammers, psy ops and social media charlatans.
> It will introduce a very simple piece of cognitive wizardry that can instantaneously improve your communication skills, emotional regulation and decision making.
> It will open up for your exploration and use mental dynamics that you maybe never thought existed.
From the outset, you have to understand one very simple thing about semantic systems and how the mind interacts with them.
When you make decisions or try to gain understanding on semantic grounds – using words and symbols – you automatically become extra vulnerable to the dialectic.
The dialectic – or duality, or polarity, or whatever semantics you want to use – is the simple fact that as soon as you name something, you implicitly name its opposite or its complement.
As soon as we have a specific definition of a car, we automatically identify everything else as not-car. Otherwise, it wouldn’t “make sense”, would it?
Now be very honest with yourself about your experience of what follows.
What happens in your mind, when you’re told someone isn’t a good person?
You kinda get the idea that he or she is actually bad, don’tcha? But is that what you were told?
No, you were told “not good”.
The mind wants to conserve energy and always reduce to the two simple and easy buckets of the dialectic.
What you like, and what you don’t like.
What’s yours, and what’s not.
What belongs to your tribe, and what doesn’t.
This is how lo-awarenes phone apes operate. If you don’t validate them and applaud them, you’re a mortal ennemi.
Which obviously makes them very easy to manipulate and use for nefarious purposes.
This is how identity politics works, and identity marketing in its many forms – from the race of the people used in TV ads to something as simple as brand identity (“think different”, anyone?).
Identity highlights and reinforces a dialectical frame. You’re with us or against us. You’re buying the
trendy product or you aren’t.
It forces the dumbphone monkey to make decisions in a world of dimension less than one (this is literally mathematically true). Because the choice is reduced to two polar opposites and nothing else.
Of course, there’s nothing real to this frame. It is just a byproduct of making decisions in a semantic system – which you don’t have to do
And this is the bit you have to make an effort to internalize and remember.
Words are not reality.
Just because you have a word or description for something doesn’t mean that it’s real. And what is real even just in your perception very easily escapes description with words.
This also applies to mathematics and logic, as you might glean from a bit of mental wizardry I use to minimize cognitive friction and to protect myself from being scammed.
When interacting with people in any capacity and context, I apply two iron rules.
If you drink either of these cups on its own, you will poison your mind and your life. If you mix them together, you will gain power and improve your life.
How do I approach people?
1. I always take what people say “at face value”.
2. I never believe what people say.
Let’s start from the second half because it’s easier to understand.
It requires no Stalin-level paranoia. It comes down to something that I’ve been reminding you lately.
Other people are not you, they are other people.
They have different perceptions and objectives and standards. (I’m exaggerating here. Most people don’t have any standards whatsoever, not even poor standards.)
To believe, means to take something as true, factual and, most essentially, actionable, whenever action is relevant or possible.
Belief usually also has a direct cognitive cost because people tend to attach and identify with it to the exclusion of information which is inconsistent with the belief.
This is where cognitive dissonance comes from. Not from the belief itself, but from the lo-awarenes monkey’s operating within the semantic system (logic) that something is either true or not. That it has to be that way.
But what if I just take note of what is being said without believing or disbelieving it? Without taking a fracking opinion about its truethiliness?
Because that’s exactly how I approach it. I make note of what you say “at face value”, without attaching to it any expectations, assumptions, emotions or anything else, in the simplest and most straightforward way I can imagine.
And I believe none of it.
So when someone else tells me the exact opposite, I don’t need to prosecute the belief with that person and expend energy on something that most likely has zero relevance to manifesting my Vision.
Instead, I can make note of that, too, and move on to the next person.
So what difference does it all make?
A yuge one.
First, it literally keeps your mind more open to new information. It helps you avoid having useless opinions and wasting energy on defending and prosecuting them.
When you don’t believe, you avoid attachment much more easily.
Second, it makes it easier to gain experience and remember things. Because cognitive dissonance is a major driver of selective forgetting.
It’s very hard to have cognitive dissonance if you get that the dialectic is fake – an artifact of the semantic systems we use to communicate.
Third, it makes your decision making not just more informed because of the above, but also much more flexible and inventive than most people’s. When you don’t have a bunch of preexisting beliefs based on what you randomly heard or read, you are much more critical in your thinking when you make decisions.
It’s one thing for me to believe that you have a car. It’s very different, cognitively, to remember that you once told me that you have a car.
And even I saw your car and you drove around in it, I still don’t have to believe you have one. Maybe you’ve since sold the damnde thing.
Non-belief is a very useful habit. It literally opens up new mental space.
It empowers you to assimilate and make use of reams of “conflicting” information without experiencing any cognitive strain whatsoever.
Because you’ve accepted that semantic systems are not reality.
Meanwhile, you don’t get the toxicity of assuming everyone is ill-intentioned. Because you take what they say at face value – without imputing intent.
Get the information, leave the judgement of true or false (the “belief”) on the table.
Can Two Cognitive Poisons Make an Elixir?