General Badassery Episode 32

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SLOT Machines -

So let's talk a little more about brains, or more accurately about triune brain theory. This is an old, and now discredited, notion that your brain is actually a holdover from the animal kingdom - that you have a reptilian brain, a mammalian brain, and a primate brain.

I do happen to have a set of animal metaphors which I went over in the newsletter this week, and among them are a lizard (reptilian!) and a dog (mammalian!) and a monkey (primate!) - so it's easy, especially given my issues with Maslow last week/earlier today, to think I'm just tacking some stuff onto the ends of the triune brain theory.

This is not, however, my intention. The concept of the animal metaphors in my system isn't to say "these parts of your brain are the parts you had when you were a monkey/dog/lizard" because human beings didn't evolve from dogs and lizards and that's dumb.

The only thing I'm saying with my animal metaphors is "here's an easy way to remember what each part of the brain kind of resembles." It's just a mnemonic device; it doesn't mean that an actual lizard has what I call a lizard brain.

This cascades across most of the stuff I teach, honestly. It's still just a bunch of BULL, but I'm certainly not trying to throw SHIT at you with it. The point is to indoctrinate you into the secret language of my cult, and whoa did I just say that out loud?

Well, it matters, you know. Any tribe of people needs a secret language; a series of terms that represent their values and ideals in a way that people outside the group won't understand.

The idea is that when you talk about secret inner circle stuff for your tribe and your cult members, people on the outside - that "them" part from "us and them" - have no damn clue what you're talking about and can't participate in the conversation.

Unless, of course, they join the cult and learn the language and get their initial analysis. The Church of Scientology uses the Oxford Capacity Analysis Test for this; it gives you results that you can't figure out, and you need a representative of the church to explain it to you, so you have to invest an hour in this test and then physically go to a church so a cult officer can manipulate you into thinking joining this cult is a Good Idea.

Whether you like that particular cult or not, it's a pretty good mechanism for getting people to join. Most successful cults do something similar.

That's why I go out of my way to make catchy little secret names for everything. SLOT Machines. The Legion of Badass. The Black Stallion method. DISCO products. SWIFT communities.

The entire purpose is to draw you in further so you'll be able to understand the conversation, and in that process to get enough of your attention that your brain's natural desire to have made good decisions will kick in.

And then you'll want to believe that you believe this stuff. So you'll pretend that you do.

Where a lot of people mess that up is by having dumb crap that doesn't even sound like it could be true. Like you get deep enough into some cults and there's this weird belief about the end of the world and the forfeiture of all your personal possessions (to the cult!) or something.

A successful cult builds on a foundation that sounds plausible to the initial applicant, and requires very little cognitive friction to accept. I mean, you know there are needs people have, and that they can be organised hierarchically. And you know that the brain has different parts that do different things.

So feeding into what you already know makes those things sound perfectly natural and normal, and you get the idea that you should join up and hang out with us because we're cool and smart and fun.

And then the insular, crappy kind of cult that just wants to lock you up and exploit you will eventually tell you a bunch of weird crap nobody will believe, so other people reject you and you have to only interact with other cult members.

So, you know, watch out for that. Some cults are positive and productive; that's the kind I'm building here, but there are other cults which can also be positive and productive.

The ones that are neither will ultimately get around to saying you need to believe a bunch of weird shit that nobody in their right mind takes seriously, which is your cue to get the hell out of it.

I'm no exception, either. Watch carefully. If you see me pushing some crazy bullshit, holy crap, the cheese fell off my cracker and you need to GTFO.