Monday, 30 March 2009

Are We Being Hypnotised About Jacqui Smith

image credit The Daily Telegraph

Its easy to see how Jacqui Smith has developed a Thousand Yard Stare as she contemplates seeing her career being shot to pieces as a result of the latest faux pas involving her expenses claim for pay per view porn films.

But hold on. Are we being placed in a trance too by the skilful words of Conservative former shadow home secretary David Davis who tells us that "there would be little sympathy for Ms Smith"

He said: "I don't call for people to go unless I think there is absolutely a smoking gun, but I just do think in this circumstance the sympathy for her will be even less than it otherwise would have been because she is not that good at her job."

After reading the work of social influence experts Kevin Hogan and Bob Cialdini, the words highlighted in the previous sentence appear to be subtle instructions to the listener. There are three potential uses of hypnotic language patterns in his speech.

1. Apparently we ignore the word 'don't' and only take in what in what follows because of its continuous use in our childhood to the extent that we react to its use and do what what we are told not to do. Don't believe me?

2. When we are told to 'imagine' or 'think' we are being instructed to hold in our minds what follows. Any thought placed in our minds is a form of hypnosis. Think about it.

3. The use of the word 'because' and what follows it is known as a placebic response. We assume that anything that follows the word 'because' is a justifiable reason. Because of this its taken as true.

To think that politicians are not unaware of persuasive language use is gullibility

Saturday, 28 March 2009

The Lights Are On But Is Anyone At Home?

Today's Earth Hour is set to plunge the world into darkness as a way of drawing attention to the problem of Co2 emissions.

What has been called the 'Big Switch Off' should really be called the 'Big Switch On' as it ought to be something where the light goes on in people's minds about what we are doing to the planet, and how we are jeopordising the future of life on earth.

Should any future space visitor find the Nasa picture above after we have all disappeared it should be in an envelope marked 'This Is How We Did It'

Don't be gullible. Switch your lights off and your brain on.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Global Lessons From The Financial Crisis

I had a interesting conversation with Sallemange today about the state of the world. You know, the sort of thing you do over coffee before you head off to work.

She was saying how much she admired the way in which President Obama was using social media to create the 'Internet Town Hall' and how he used it to explain the 'dead ends' that Either-Or thinking get us into. You know, the sort of thinking that say we either have to resource or reform the education system in order to change it, we can either use fossil fuels or we become dependent on foreign suppliers, or we have an uncontrolled and dynamic financial system or we have a controlled and inhibited one.

This is the uncreative thinking that doesn't seek out Both/And or Fuzzy solutions

Sallemange said Barack Obama was skilfully leading through explanation and education, and he was talking about was seeing all things as an interconnected and interdependent systems

With that in mind she went on to say that the Financial Crisis was a global lesson about consequences for systems way beyond the financial system itself. It was actually a metaphor for the way we think about the planet itself! What the financial crisis has shown us, she said, was we can all be dramatically affected by things we can't see and can't control. In the case of the planet though we can't wait for everyone to be 'hit in the wallet' before we take action to avoid catastrophe.

Its gullible not to think systemically.

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Monday, 23 March 2009

Jade Goody's Social Influence

Will your epitaph read 'I made a difference'? This certainly seems to be the case for Jade Goody, and the way she achieved this brings home the way modern media touches and influences us.

The very fact that I'm writing and posting something about somebody I had never met means that the phenomenon that was Jade is clear evidence of her social impact. There is a difficulty I have with this though, and that is reconciling my knowledge of Jade Goody the celebrity and my total lack of knowledge of her as a person. Whilst she had the most laudable of motives for allowing us to follow her I felt that on those occasions where I caught her picture on TV or in the papers I was pretty voyeuristic.

Normally most of us are only confronted with the real effects of serious illness and bereavement when it affects someone we know well. Usually this is a private affair and something we are shielded from until it is unavoidable. Jade Goody has revealed the ravages of an often unspoken illness to millions of people she never knew and introduced many of us to the realities of our mortality. She has also revealed the power of a mother's love and doggedness of the human spirit.

In the end Jade Goody showed us our humanity. Despite the power of celebrity, despite the experience of the 'always on society' none of these things can ever really defend us against a 24/7 360 degree multi-media world. We are in the end just ordinary people with a given amount of time, some of whom find themselves in extraordinary circumstances. We all have our traits we all have our weaknesses, its just that people like Jade Goody take the chance of placing themselves before us, showing us their good and their bad for our entertainment.

To think that this isn't 'our' good and 'our 'bad is gullibility

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Am I Gullible If I Believe In God?

Now if ever there was a commercial blunder it has to be down to God!

The most powerful (omnipotent) and well known (omnipresent) brand in the universe. Anybody who who has been on a Marketing 101 course will tell you that protecting your intellectual property (omniscience)is critical.

Well the guys at Vevivi have taken full advantage of God's oversight and produced a range of clothing that any self respecting Atheist would look 'so last millennium' without.

If it wasn't for blogging's Eye of Providence,Mary Ann I would never have got to hear about this. Thanks Mary Ann! Readers should pop over to her blog now for another observation about life the universe and everything.

If you 'get' the T shirt, does that mean you 'get' the philosophy too?
Sure we are taught religion and science, and rarely are we taught what the real debate is about. That's probably because its clouded (apols to any angels reading) by philosophical jargon.

Fundamentally (apologies to any religious zealots reading) the discussion hinges on what we believe is 'real' (Our Ontology) and how we decide what is true(Our Epistemology) 9 times out of 10 people will have an argument about stuff without first sorting out where people stand on these matters. Which in turn means arguments just go round in circles (not 'real' circles of course, just imaginary ones)This is the whole gig about Metaphysics i.e. do non physical things exist?

Basically there is one major fault line, between Realists and Idealists. Whether you consider things to physically exist or whether they are made up in your head. So, although I have never seen with my own eyes, touched, or smelled any of Vevivi's T shirts I do believe they physically exist. This means I have a Realist Ontology and an Idealist Epistemology. (I regard the photos as proof of their existence, which means I am relying on Testimony). This, you will probably realise is spookily like another famous story you may have heard involving a guy with long hair and a beard! By deciding your 'O'& 'E' you can work out where you stand regarding any of the four permutations. Which in turn explains why you agree or disagree with someone on matters like 'does God exist'.

If you have a idealist ontology and an idealist epistemology everything is made up in your head. Natural scientists don't go along with this and that's why many of them are atheists because you can't physically prove God exists.

Now just because he can't be seen, touched, or smelled doesn't mean that the 'idea' of God doesn't have psychological value for human beings. Although philosophers like Ken Wilber try and integrate all approaches. There is a physical world and a spiritual world and we can exist in both.

What is your 'O&E'?

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Monday, 9 March 2009

Proper Blogging

Can you put your finger on the spirit of blogging? Is that spirit being lost in a blogging world of pro-blogger wannabes, the blog-bites of Twitter, and the discovery of social media by business and media professionals?

With a blog title of Gullibles Travels I just had to check it out obviously, and I recommend that you do too. The thing that struck me as I read was that 'I felt I was reading what I can only decribe as a 'proper blog' here'.The authors personality really came through in the posts. Slightly off beat, a real web- log of personal takes that shed light (well if your latest post was about DST it would wouldn't it!)on a life in Alaska.

Of course there are millions of blogs so what made this particular one 'stand out'? For me it was the engaging style of the writing, warm and chatty, as if you had met the author in a cafe and were shooting the breeze. There are no hidden agendas, no causes to press, no diatribes, no geekery, no I'm OK you're not OK, no get rich quick, just plain story telling.

That's it! Pure narrative. It's as if you are listening rather than reading, invited rather than forced to see the world through the author's eyes, and along the way you learn something.

What have I learned? Well something about life in Alaska, of course, something about the author, and most importantly something about blogging. Blogging done well is something special that fuses two social phenomena, Narrative and Discourse. Without the interplay of these things blogging is souless and inert. Posts become 'shouts' and 'advertorial' rather than conversations and its through conversations that we generate social influence. Thanks to Mville for making the link!

What is Proper Blogging to you?

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Sunday, 8 March 2009

The Gullibility of Michele Bachmann

Don't you think it's weird that some politicians assume that the general public are just as gullible as they are? When you have the lethal combination of ignorance and power then no wonder The Huffington Post runs the story The Spectacular Gullibility Of Michele Bachmann Huffington's Jason Linkins shows just how dangerous a lack of critical thinking can be.

Clearly Michele is not a 'bad person' but being well intentioned doesn't mean that what you say and what you believe shouldn't be rigorously challenged. What we can say is that Michele Bachmann seems to be seriously Epistemologically Challenged This is state of mind where you believe things that aren't true and disbelieve things that are true.

If you know anyone else who is Epistemologically Challenged you need to get them checked out urgently. This condition is known by the professionals as Epistemologicalosis and is transmitted by the Epistemosis virus, a particularly nasty air wave borne virus that attacks your memes.

Recently educators have become less convinced that I.Q. gives a clear indication of a persons true intellectual capability. Tests are being conducted now using the new E.C. rating that gives a much more realistic indication of an individuals gullbility. The rating system works like this:

5 - complete and utter sceptic - medical term = Diogenitis

4 - quite sceptical - medical term = Socratitis

3 - your'e kidding! aren't you? medical term = Scullyitis

2 - quite gullible - medical term = Jacksonitis

1 - completly gullible - medical term = Bachmannitis

What do you think?

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Saturday, 7 March 2009

So We're With Lloyds TSB For The Journey

image credit - The Great British Public

Now we have a 65% share in the Lloyds TSB My bank manager works for me!

I wonder what The Journey will be like now? Will the patronising letters end? perhaps I'll be treated as a customer rather than somebody who can be duped into purchasing insurance policies I don't need.

I am doubtful that the culture and philosophy of this institution will change. A Lloydstsb spokesman on the BBC today, speaking of the merger with HBOS was mute about any consideration for customers. He simply emphasised that it would be a good deal over the medium term for shareholders. Ahah...he means us! I get it now.

Read more:

Monday, 2 March 2009

Corpus Christi Kay Boshed!

image credit BBC

Corpus Christi alumni Sam Kay has ensured a humiliating about turn having caused his team to be booted out off top spot for cheating in the prestigious TV quiz University Challenge.

As viewers familiar with the shows format will know, the contestants must be current students, and always introduce the themselves by the subjects they are 'reading'for their degree.

Imagine hearing Sam say a the top of the programme..."Sam Kay...reading between the lines" the perfect introduction for a Chemistry graduate working as an Account at PWC.

What, with the current economic crisis this guy's 'due diligence' skills should guarantee him a top job. After all he claimed in his defence that he told the Beeb about his course end dates at the start of the series. I see Sam, its the BBC's fault is it? Chemistry to help you cook the books too? Sounds like you have ideal credentials for a financier!

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