The human mind processes the world in terms of language. Even our unconscious thoughts are mediated in terms of language. If you read Neanderthal by John Darnton, the most important part of the story was language. It was language that was the edge that homo Sapiens had over their Neanderthal cousins because it gave them the ability to deceive, or in short, to play power games, while Neanderthals couldn’t think as far ahead. Language mediates thought, builds community, and influences our ability to see ahead.
In short, control language and you control minds, including your own.
This is why a hallmark of any Year Zero regime is the careful control of language (and by extension, other concepts, such as the measurement of time). The Year Zero regime imposes itself in large part through this control, which George Orwell popularized as “Newspeak.”
With this in mind, we can turn to the three types of people in the world as defined by Scott Adams:
Rational People: Use data and reason to arrive at truth. (This group is mostly imaginary.)
Word-Thinkers: Use labels, word definitions, and analogies to create the illusion of rational thinking. This group is 99% of the world.
Persuaders: Use simplicity, repetition, emotion, habit, aspirations, visual communication, and other tools of persuasion to program other people and themselves. This group is about 1% of the population and effectively control the word-thinkers of the world.
Scott Adams further remarks on word-thinking:
Word-thinking is important to persuasion because if you can convince someone to accept a label on an opponent, it turns off their critical thought and turns on their confirmation bias. Nuance is lost. Context is lost. All that matters once the label is accepted is whatever qualities the label already contained.
If you further read Scott Adams’ blog, you recognize the importance of pairing concepts with words, such as Donald Trump with “racism.” This is the key mechanism behind word-think, as it ties into human pattern recognition capabilities (often bad, as Adams says).
This conceptual pairing, and the knowledge of what triggers word-thinking, is one of the biggest keys to persuasion, to controlling the minds of your prospects, as well as your own. You control your own mind because you’re able to detach somewhat from the emotions that word-thinking triggers, as well as prevent the emotions of word-thinkers from infecting you. As Robert Greene remarks:
Power’s crucial foundation is the ability to master your emotions. An emotional response to a situation is the single greatest barrier to power, a mistake that will cost you a lore more than any temporary satisfaction you might gain by expressing your feelings. Emotions cloud reason, and if you cannot see the situation clearly, you cannot prepare for and respond to it with any degree of control.
Take for instance, the recent “scandal” with some handegg player not standing up for the Star Spangled Banner. His word-think was the pairing of “America” (subject) with “Black people” (object) and “oppressing” (verb). This word-think triggered other word-thinkers on both sides, with those supporting him agreeing along the same lines, justifying their support with the same words, while the opposing word-thinkers paired up the concept of “not standing for the Star Spangled Banner” with variations of being “unpatriotic” or a traitor to the American in-group.
Of course, the truth behind this is that none of it is particularly truthful, or at least the word-think in itself doesn’t lead to anything truthful, but that didn’t stop both sides from thinking extremely emotionally and then rationalizing a truth out of it.
As for me? I felt nothing. It bored me, to be honest.
Me being bored allowed me to detach my emotions and care less about it, not wasting my own energy on a boring subject where everyone was saying a variation of one thing or the other.
When you begin to feel emotional in response to certain words, you can shut down these emotions, and the confirmation bias that follows, by using a linguistic spell of your own. Just remind yourself that you’re a “word-thinker” or that you’re doing “word-thinking.” I’ve found that this simple reminder instantly shuts down most or all of the impact that the emotionally loaded language you’re hearing or reading will have on you. This in turn will allow you to prevent yourself from being manipulated, wasting your time on foolishness, and will keep your initiative in whatever situation you’re in. It will allow any emotionally-laden insults to roll off your back and not upset your emotional equilibrium or momentum. Even the most common insults like “stupid” or “moron,” when put in context, are usually indications of word-thinking, and therefore the insulter’s confirmation bias, and thus say nothing about you.
So that’s how your knowledge of the concept of word-thinking can act in a defensive manner. Now we can get to the real fun part, the part where you can implement your knowledge of the phenomenon of word-thinking offensively.
Many conservative pundits have asked, often while lamenting among themselves, why the left has generally been superior in the political and cultural clashes between the two, particularly in the past 50 years. Much of the answer has to do with the fact that the left has mastered the magic of word-think spells:
- So and so is “racist.”
- So and so is “sexist.”
- So and so is “misogynistic.”
- So and so is “pro-rape.”
- So and so is “homophobic.”
- So and so is “Islamophobic.”
- So and so is “nativist” and/or “anti-immigrant.”
- So and so “hates poor/old/disabled people.”
Continue on ad infinitum.
These words pair the accused with something emotionally bad, relatable, and often visual. Critical thinking shuts down completely. Confirmation bias takes over. The person or side being accused, having a frame imposed on him/them (and an ugly, emotionally-charged one), desperately tries to get out of it by denials. This only makes him look guilty. It also saps himself and his side of initiative, as supporters will try to look for “evidence” to deny the label, which won’t work anyway due to the shut down in analysis and the takeover of confirmation bias. All the space has been dominated.
Remember the whole “War on Women” in 2012? That dogged Mitt Romney from beginning to end, and his fairly innocuous but sort-of-bad-sounding “binders full of women” quip in the latter stages of the campaign hit him extremely hard because the meme magicians on Obama’s campaign (probably including Robert Cialdini – Scott Adams’ “Godzilla” himself) had been programming word-thinkers to think of Mitt Romney as “anti-woman” for months, and that comment was just more confirmation bias. Note that the exact same language they’re applying to Donald Trump now, they were using on Mitt Romney, though the “War on Women” generally ruled the day among the word-think spells in 2012. Despite the fundamentals looking not-great for Barack Obama in 2012 (high unemployment, his signature achievement in the Affordable Care Act being unpopular), he won the election handily, in large part because of the word-think magic spells he and his team concocted against the opposition.
In contrast to this, conservatives have generally conducted themselves along these lines:
- “Lower taxes.”
- “Less regulations.”
- Something something the Constitution.
- Something something peace through strength.
- Something something Israel.
- Something something Ronald Reagan.
- “Secure the border.”
- Something something God.
A few of these things have some potency. For example, “the Constitution” sounds patriotic and is vague enough to let people fill in the blanks with their own ideas. Same goes for “Secure the border.” However, these things aren’t nearly as potent as the left’s things because…
- They aren’t relatable to a lot of, in Nigel Farage’s words, “ordinary people.” Most people don’t think about the Constitution because it’s not something they encounter in their lives. At best, they encounter it in school. It has little to no meaning to them.
- These things have little to no ability to program word-thinkers. At best, they can do so a little bit, like maybe saying someone is “against the Constitution,” a nebulous concept too distant to be extremely emotional or motivating. But if you’re a politician, and you tell people that your opponent is racist, they start to imagine all kinds of bad things because of the pairing of language with some feasible “evidence.”
This is why the left has tended to win in the long run. Democrats have won 5 out of 6 of the last presidential elections in terms of the popular vote. Republicans have often dominated state and congressional races, but this is often because turnout is lower and congressional (and state legislative) districts are heavily gerrymandered.
That’s not to suggest Democrats don’t gerrymander as much as their Republican counterparts when given the chance. My work in politics in New York has shown that both sides are equally guilty of the practice (in fact, my first big assignment at one of my jobs a few years ago had to do with the redistricting that was going on in New York just when I arrived). Gerrymandering just tends to benefit Republicans more directly than Democrats.
That’s simply a fact.
If you started to get emotional because I paired “Republican” with “gerrymandering,” which stands for the concept of being a politician that gets to select your own voters, and you started to object in some way, guess what? You were word-thinking, and I just programmed a reaction in you.
Basically, conservatives have gotten lucky a few times by sometimes casting a spell by accident, while leftists have all gone to the Sorcerer’s Guild and learned how to use magic. Their words aren’t random. They know how to say the words in the proper way to cast a spell. Conservatives don’t.
Leftists are trained. Conservatives, for all their professed intellectual, “facts over feelings” prowess, aren’t.
The real revolution Donald Trump is bringing to the Republican Party, far beyond any tone or policy, is an education on how to use magic (the tools to program word-thinkers) to win.
But how about more practical, everyday things? How can you use the power of word-think magic there too?
If you’re taking part in a seduction, it means you try to engineer potent words designed for your partner’s psychology (The Art of Seduction is very good with explaining the psychology part). If you’re marketing a product, it’s the same basic idea. Words that shut-down logic and let emotion take over are what your aim is as a marketer to start with. Simple, repeatable themes like “winning” are usually good.
Often these words are something that create exclusivity by emphasizing an in-group to an out-group, which creates a good motivation for action. Labeling your out-group opponents with emotional words and then instructing your prospect on how to either defeat them or not be like them is a powerful tactic.
For instance, one of the ways that people like Roosh became big was by setting up a conflict between “alpha male” (which sounds good) and “beta male” (which sounds bad), then pairing those two things with desirable or undesirable outcomes (“alpha male” = get laid) (“beta male” = go home and jerk off and other bad things). Naturally, more guys want to be “alpha males,” so they go to people that can make that happen like Roosh or Good Looking Loser (even though he’s never used such terminology to my knowledge – he has contrasted himself very forcefully with “seduction gurus”).
Dave Rubin has created the very successful Rubin Report in part by pairing it with “free speech” and taking a stand against the “social justice warriors” and “regressive left” that so many people – on all sides of the political and cultural spectrum hate. Who doesn’t want free speech? That’s a cool thing to defend against SJW losers now.
In my own marketing blueprint for my upcoming book Year Zero, I’m planning on copy that takes advantage of our pairing of “social justice warriors” with “crazy, low-t male, or fat woman loser” to set up a contrast between “normal,” “healthy,” “rational,” “freedom-loving,” and so on. This would allow me to program word-thinkers in my own niche to let their emotions and confirmation bias take over (especially if over time) and motivate them buy the book in order to learn how these menaces work and how to fight back against them (whether immediately or at a future date).
And the thing to realize is that if you satisfy your prospects emotionally before the sale occurs, they’ll likely be satisfied with your product after using it, no matter its quality. Knowledge of how word-thinking works will allow you to more easily do so.
I’m confident in telling you all this because to quote Scott Adams, the mechanisms of persuasion work even when you tell someone you’re using them.
I’m also confident that you should read Stumped, because you definitely want to learn how to be a persuader and not a word-thinker, since you want to be someone who controls minds, too.