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"For the professional deceiver [magicians, spies, confidence men] the problem is not one of moral rectitude but rather of social comprehension. He or she must understand the seen-but-unnoticed features of everyday life." -Lyman & Scott, 1989:176
Who hasn't heard the story of "The Three Blind Men and the Elephant"?
Three blind men chance upon an elephant. The first blind man runs his hand down the length of the elephant's trunk and declares, "An elephant is like a tree!"
The second runs his hands along the side of the elephant, disagreeing, "No, an elephant is like a wall."
The third blind man, feeling the beast's tail disputed his two fellows, "You are both wrong, an elephant is like a serpent!"
Could it be they were all three right? Yes. First, because their perceptions gave them correct readings. And, second, they drew logical conclusions based on their individual perspectives, i.e., where they happened to be standing.
Of course we know all three also saw incompletely because of their limited perceptions and perspective.
This is the same thing that can and does happen to each and every one of us every day: Our perceptions and our perspectives lie to us or, at the very least, give us limited information to go by, prompting us to "fill in the blanks."
Filling in the blanks is human nature. We strive for completeness. The fancy word for this is "gestalt."
That's why two people can witness the same car accident at the same intersection, albeit from different corners, and subsequently come up with two different versions of the accident.
In the same way, where you happen to be "standing"-literally and figuratively-at any given time in your life, coupled with your personal perceptions that are filtered through all manner of drama and trauma you're carrying with you from childhood, not to mention your adult prides and prejudices, and/or whether or not you "got some" last night-can all distort how we perceive a particular event, word, or action-our own as well as the words and actions of others.
Savvy con men, cult leaders, and politicians factor these two variables-perception and perspective-into account before spinning their spiels in our direction. Having mastered the Black Science, these professional mind magicians know how to make our eyes follow their right hand while their left is picking our pocket. They know how to say just the right word to catch and keep our attention. They know how to stand-in order to project just the right kind of body language to make themselves and their offer more attractive to us.
Most important, they know the deck is already stacked in their favor since most of us remain blissfully ignorant of the fact we can't trust our own perceptions and perspectives to safely carry us through the day unmolested.
I know what you're thinking: This kind of mind manipulation crap only applies to other people, to weak-minded people. You think you are too smart, too sharp to fall for con games, cult lures, hypnotism, or "weapons of mass destruction."
"All my senses are in perfect working order," you maintain. You see what you see. You hear what you hear. And you can trust your memory 100 percent. ... Let's test that claim, shall we?
A BODY TEST
Ask someone to describe a spiral staircase. It will be impossible for them to do this without twirling their finger in the air. Even when you telephone someone and ask him or her to describe a spiral staircase, all alone at the other end of the line, your victim will still be twirling his or her finger in the air!
A simple game, you say? Yes, but one with a very important lesson: Our body has a mind of its own.
From something as simple as being unable to describe a spiral staircase without twirling your finger in the air, to those beads of sweat on your brow that just lost you that $10,000 pot by ruining your bluffing at Texas Hold'em, to the blood flow quickly heading south in response to that big bootied blonde catching your eye across the bar, you can't trust your body.
But your enemy can't trust his either.
A MEMORY TEST
Read the following list aloud to your test subject: Sugar. Cake. Candy. Cookies. Saccharine. Honey. Maple syrup. Pastry. Pie.
Now, without their noticing, hand them a different list, one that contains the same nine words you just read aloud, plus the word "sweet."
Explain to your victim that the words on the paper are the same ones you just read but that now they are out of order and, to test his or her memory, you'd like him or her to write the numbers 1 through 10 beside the words in the order that he or she remembers you reading them.
Most test subjects will not notice you've added another word because, in their mind, all the words are already associated with "sweet" to begin with.
We often hear of "repressed memory," where individuals are so severely traumatized by an event they "forget" the event ever happened. However, just as insidious, and potentially more dangerous, is the proclivity of human beings to fill in the blanks, to add "details" to incomplete and/or uncomfortable memories, to make those memories more compatible with their current view of the world. This helps the person avoid what psychologists call cognitive dissonance-mental anxiety created in the mind when we struggle to reconcile two opposing ideas or sets of facts.
In addition to being "deleted" (i.e., repressed) and augmented (i.e., added to), completely never-happened-in-a-million-years false memories can be all too easily manufactured.
Sometimes individuals manufacture false memories for themselves-filling in those bothersome blanks. Other times, false memories are "implanted" by outside influences-con men, cults, manipulators of various ilk.
Experiments have been done, to varying degrees of success, using hypnosis (sometimes in conjunction with drugs) to create false memories. Governments-including our own-did a lot of experimenting on this in the 1950s and '60s ... and beyond? (See my book, Mind Manipulation, 2002.)
Cults and fanatical religious fundamentalists are notorious for planting false memories of parental molestation and even "Satanic abuse" in the minds of impressionable converts. (See Lung & Prowant, 2001.)
The malleability of memory is by now well documented, so much so that psychologists are finding increasing uses for deliberately reshaping a person's memories-from freeing patients from real memories of childhood abuse and trauma, to helping patients lose weight by implanting false memories that the patient hates certain high-calorie foods! (See Skloot, 2006:30.)
Says Skloot, "It is likely that false memories can be implanted only in people who are unaware of the mental manipulation" (p. 30). So you can't trust your memory ... but your enemy can't trust his either. Try to remember this.
A HEARING TEST
Ask your victim: "What's this spell: H-O-P." Their response: Hop. "P-O-P?" Pop. " T-O-P?" Top. "What do you do when you come to a green light?" Their response: Stop. Wrong, you "go" at a green light!
It's a law of physics that "objects in motion tend to stay in motion." This same rule applies to the Black Science. Humans are slaves to routine and repetition. We follow patterns, most often patterns that we are unaware of.
Make yourself aware of your own patterns ... before your enemy does.
A READING TEST
Have your guinea pig (i.e., "victim") read this: GODISNOWHERE.
Did they read, "God is NOW here"? Or, instead, "God is NO where"?
Both answers (perceptions) are right ... or are they both wrong?
"Relativism" is the philosophy that there is no absolute truth, that all seeming "truths" are relative, i.e., they are dependent on where you happen to be standing literally (physically) and figuratively (mentally). In other words, the truth depends on your perspective.
Cult leaders absolutely love "relativism," since it allows them to first make recruits doubt what they think is true about life, thus paving the way for what the cult leader decides is "reality."
Advertisers and politicians use this same sort of relativism when it comes to slinging around statistics.
Someone once said, "If you torture numbers long enough they'll confess to anything!" Still, you'd like to think (hope!) that something as straightforward as the "truth" of numbers couldn't be twisted and skewed. After all, 2 + 2 is always 4, right?
Well, maybe not always. Says Darrell Huff in his classic How to Lie with Statistics (1954):
The secret language of statistics, so appealing in a fact minded culture, is employed to sensationalize, inflate, confuse, and oversimplify.... There is terror in numbers.... If you can't prove what you want to prove, demonstrate something else and pretend that they are the same thing. In the daze that follows the collision of statistics with the human mind, hardly anyone will notice the difference. (p. 8)
Such relativism goes by other names as well, "utilitarianism" and "egoism," for example. What's good for one's survival and personal happiness is therefore "moral." You can't trust statistics ... or any weasely bean counter who's overly attached to them.
A COUPLE OF TESTS FOR THE EYES
What do you think this is?
Give up? It's a Mexican frying eggs 'n' bacon for breakfast! How about this one?
It's a ten-foot length of common garden hose.
Just a couple light-hearted examples of how things can appear differently depending on your perspective.
Trust me, there are all too many more serious examples of how our eyes deceive us, how even our own eye-witness testimony may be suspect, especially when our perceptions have been filtered through the drama and trauma of seeing-let alone being the victim of!-a violent crime.
THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX
How many squares can you count in this illustration?
Did you count twenty ... or twenty-one ... what about twenty-five?
It all depends on how you count them: the twenty obvious squares inside the larger square (Oops! Did you miss that one, number 21?). Then there are the four squares at each corner (made up of four smaller squares). Yep, twenty-five ... unless you want to slide over one row from the sides to count even more squares (again composed of four smaller squares each).
Of course, it doesn't really matter how many squares you see ... so long as you train yourself to really look and, more important, to look-think!-outside the box.
"Thinking outside the box" has become an overused catchphrase meaning we practice "nonlinear thinking."
Linear thinking harkens back to that predictable, routine thinking and behavior you've already been warned about.
Animals walk down the same woodland paths every day, stopping at the same watering holes every day. That's how an observant hunter knows where to set his traps, where to wait in ambush.
Let's assume that your enemy is, at the very least, an observant hunter.
In case you're wondering, it's a pyramid-top view.
But the question is: How many sides does this pyramid have? Take your time ...
Four sides? Usual observation. But what about the base? If we counted the base, that would bring the number of sides up to five, right?
How about this: In addition to its usual four (or is it five?) sides, every pyramid also has an inside and outside. Total: seven.
Inside and outside? Just "semantics," just a play on words? Of course, but how many people have died simply because the wrong word was dropped in the right ear at the right time?
Words are never harmless. What is offensive to one may not be offensive to another.
That harmless "dumb blond" joke you tell at work today might have you on the unemployment line tomorrow.
What if your boss kept hearing rumors and then complaints that you were telling racist jokes? Suddenly one of his best workers (you) becomes a liability-literally, a legal liability.
Some people can't take a joke. In the same way some people-perhaps most people-can't think outside the box.
Many people are "concrete" thinkers, that is they take things literally. "A rolling stone gathers no moss" means to them, literally, that somewhere there is a big-ass rock rolling down a hill.
An "abstract" thinker, on the other hand, would understand this as a metaphor, meaning it's hard to put down roots if you're always traveling from place to place.
In fact, one of the most basic of psychology tests is called the Metaphor Test and is meant to determine if a patient is capable of abstract reasoning.
As we shall see in chapter 2, concrete thinkers have trouble progressing from the appreciation (understanding) stage of a problem or strategy to the application stage, i.e., actually applying such strategies to deal with real world problems.
So who can you trust? At first glance it all looks pretty dismal.
But the good news remains that, despite protestations to the contrary, when it comes to the Black Science, it's a level playing field. Your enemy has the same weaknesses you have.
Even more encouraging is the fact that the more aware you are of the weaknesses you possess, the better your chances of overcoming those weaknesses ... or at least learning to hide your weaknesses better from those who would use it against you.
"Do the thing, and you have the power." -Nietzsche
Admiring Michelangelo Merisi Caravaggio's paintings, appreciating the way this Baroque genius mastered the delicate play of chiaroscuro, doesn't mean you can paint like Caravaggio.
Likewise, watching Bruce Lee movies, no matter how much you appreciate his style, won't make you a martial artist capable of applying Bruce's moves when Death decides to take the same shortcut through that dark alley as you.
There's a big difference between "appreciation" and "application," no matter the field of endeavor.
For example, any serious student of the Black Science knows that The Art of War by Sun Tzu is required reading ... over, and over, and over again!
And, while it's easy to "appreciate" Sun Tzu's undisputed mastery of strategy, novices often have trouble applying the subtleties of Sun Tzu's Ping-Fa to their everyday lives.
Appreciation is easy, application is not. What's sweet in the mouth may be all too bitter in the belly.
WHAT WOULD SUN TZU DO?
Sun Tzu warns us never to fight an enemy whose back is to a mountain or to the sea (since trapped men-with no seeming way of escape-have no choice but to fight to the death).
The Master goes on to admonish us to always leave the enemy with a way out. (Of course, you can always have an ambush set up farther down the road, but that's a strategy for another day.)
So what is the average Joe Blow to make of this advice from the Master? The average Joe is not commanding any Chinese armies and, while he may "appreciate" (understand) Sun Tzu's strategy as it applies to the maneuvering of thousands of Chinese troops 2,500 years ago ... what's that got to do with Joe's boring life today, in the here and now?
This is what the youngsters like to call "keepin' it real."
So how about this scenario:
Average Joe's waiting in a checkout line when a stranger bumps into him. "My bad," the stranger apologizes, using the current slang.
"Why don't you watch where the hell you're going!" Joe screams at the stranger. "What the hell's your major malfunction, numbnuts!"
"Hey, I said I was sorry," the stranger protests, his own temper starting to rise.
"Well 'sorry' didn't do it, you did. What are you, on drugs or something?" Joe rants.
"Hey, screw you, buddy!" the stranger explodes, as he and Average Joe square off....
Or, remembering Sun Tzu's advice not to (figuratively and literally) back an enemy into a wall, Joe accepts the stranger's apology and allows him an "honorable" way out of the situation.
Excerpted from MIND PENETRATION by HAHA LUNG Copyright © 2007 by Haha Lung. Excerpted by permission.
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