Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Gervais Principle (part 2)

The second part talks about how sociopaths and non sociopaths (losers or clueless) behave.

On how sociopaths behave:

The bulk of Sociopath communication takes places out in the open, coded in Powertalk, right in the presence of non-Sociopaths (a decent 101 level example of this is in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, when Hermoine is the only one who realizes that Prof. Umbridge’s apparently bland and formulaic speech is a Powertalk speech challenging Dumbledore). As the David-Jim example shows, Sociopaths are in fact more careful in private.

Why? Both examples illustrate the reasons clearly: for Sociopaths, conditions of conflict of interest and moral hazard are not exceptional. They are normal, everyday situations.  To function effectively they must constantly maintain and improve their position in the ecosystem of other Sociopaths, protecting themselves, competing, forming alliances, trading favors and building trust. Above all they must be wary of Sociopaths with misaligned agendas, and protect themselves in basic ways before attempting things like cooperation. They never lower their masks. In fact they are their masks. There is nothing beneath.

So effective Sociopaths stick with steadfast discipline to the letter of the law, internal and external, because the stupidest way to trip yourself up is in the realm of rules where the Clueless and Losers get to be judges and jury members. What they violate is its spirit, by taking advantage of its ambiguities. Whether this makes them evil or good depends on the situation. That’s a story for another day. Good Sociopaths operate by what they personally choose as a higher morality, in reaction to what they see as the dangers, insanities and stupidities of mob morality. Evil Sociopaths are merely looking for a quick, safe buck. Losers and the Clueless, of course, avoid individual moral decisions altogether.

On how non-sociopaths rarely are able to pull off sociopathic techniques themselves:

So what is going wrong here? Why can’t you learn Sociopath tactics from a book or Wikipedia? It is not that the tactics themselves are misguided, but that their application by non-Sociopaths is usually useless, for three reasons.

The first is that you have to decide what tactics to use and when, based on a real sense of the relative power and alignment of interests with the other party, which the Losers and Clueless typically lack. This real-world information is what makes for tactical surprise. Otherwise your application of even the most subtle textbook tactics can be predicted and easily countered by any Sociopath who has also read the same book. Null information advantage.

The second reason is that tactics make sense only in the context of an entire narrative (including mutual assessments of personality, strengths, weaknesses and history) of a given interpersonal relationship. The Clueless have no sense of narrative rationality, and the Losers are too trapped in their own stories to play to other scripts. Both the Clueless and Losers are too self-absorbed to put in much work developing accurate and usable mental models of others. The result is one-size-fits-all-situations tactical choices which are easily anticipated and deflected.

And the third and most important reason of course, is that your moves have to be backed up by appropriate bets using your table stakes, exposing you to real risks and rewards. A good way to remember this is to think of Powertalk as decisions about what verbal tactics to use when, and with what. The answer to with what is usually a part of your table-stakes. The stuff you are revealing and  risking. If you cannot answer with what? you are posturing. You are not speaking Powertalk. 

I thought this was interesting, particularly on the heels of this recent post about Sherlock Holmes' ability to conceptualize the inner worlds of others. The author has another similar post about constructing narratives in bargaining situations (e.g. "I'm just a poor student, I don't have that kind of money to spend"), locking in the other party to a narrative that favors you ("I appreciate that you are a local business that offers fair prices to loyal customers"), and building upon the narrative until it becomes so convoluted that the other party is not able to keep up with the verbal sparring so the deal must close. It reminded me of these findings that people with more creativity tend to be less moral.

57 comments:

  1. That Shaman guy I knew actually has a Tony Robbins certification.

    I wonder how Ukan feels about that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ... and first. Thank you very much.

      Delete
    2. UKan totally fits a clueless loser type who thinks he is a sociopath, and reads Tony Robbins and 48 Laws of Power to learn tactics he then applies in a rather comical fashion.

      Delete
    3. Glad you and monica are in agreement. Show's exactly where you are at ellicit.

      Delete
    4. Tony Robbins is a shape shifter grifter

      Delete
    5. I'm on to all of you. You're doing that 'Powertalk' thing, it's pretty clear, you've exposed yourselves I'm calling Dumbledore.

      It's done.

      Over.

      Delete
    6. Yes, medusa. You have an unhealthy obsession with a computer.

      Delete
    7. I know you don't think much of me, UKan, but have you ever thought of just talking, normally, rather than being abusive to everyone~

      Delete
    8. I think its because you are so damaged that I can't help but degrade you. Quick question, what did your mothers vagina taste like?

      Delete
    9. Yes, medusa. You have an unhealthy obsession with a computer.

      You rarely fail to deliver on the lulz (at your expense) these days. I think you and A Friend were the only ones who didn't seem to realize Medusa was always mocking you and taking the piss with that 'I love you' crap. hahahaha

      Delete
    10. "UKan totally fits a clueless loser type who thinks he is a sociopath, and reads Tony Robbins and 48 Laws of Power to learn tactics he then applies in a rather comical fashion."

      LMAO!!!! Hilarious, priceless, and SO TRUE!!!!!

      Delete
    11. Thanks for filling me in on that eden. I actually did think she was serious when she said she loved me. Good thing you are here to point out the obvious. Quick question, what did your fathers cock taste like?

      Delete
    12. Ukan can't "just talk" to anyone. If he did. he'd run the risk of losing some of his mana.And, after all, he's worked so hard to convince us that he's one bad-ass motherfucker!

      Delete
    13. Thanks for filling me in on that eden

      LOL

      Delete
    14. Yeah, I thought it was Eden that had ADD.

      Delete
  2. Hah.

    I always knew they were evil Wizards.

    ReplyDelete
  3. evil wizards aren't those warlocks?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 'Unlike sorcerers and wizards, who approach arcane magic through their draconic lineage or a book of learned magic, a warlock invokes magic through their darkened soul.'

      Guess they're Warlocks alright...

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. Rembrandt
      If you want to talk about what is really bothering you, I am all ears and 100% there, but if you want to start a dweeb fight, I will ignore you.

      Delete
  5. Did anybody see fake MEdusa's post yesterday! LOL! Another hilarious add-on to the story!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I LOVE Fake Medusa-- brilliance @@@@

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah. I just read Fake Medusa's latest and have to say that is one awesome mind at work there. Hope s/he writes more often.

      Delete
    2. What the hell is Fake Medusa?

      And hey Monica, Ellicit, what up.

      Delete
    3. Fake Medusa has special powers. She spins her piss into gold and shit.

      Delete
    4. Cool. That is a good skill to have. Right, UKan?

      Delete
    5. waste not, want not.

      Delete
    6. Absolutely.

      Delete
    7. Yeah Monica and Elicit I love fake Medusa and I enjoyed it too, I wish they would write more often, they have some talent ;)

      PS- To Medusa, Fake MEdusa writes little stories that are kinda like the "Up From The Sofa" series. If you look back to yesterday at near the bottom of the page you can see her latest post :)

      Delete
    8. Thanks. I still haven't read any of the SW fiction series.

      Delete
  7. Hey sociopaths, how do you feel about being possessed? After you've successfully seduced someone and they feel like you are theirs completely how does that make you feel?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. like i have a ball and chain

      Delete
    2. LOL We arent ALL sociopaths here! Look at my username!!!!

      :)

      Delete
    3. rich, what do you stand for?

      Delete
    4. Honestly I don't think you fully understand the concept of no guilt or remorse. We're not all bad either. We do have a concept of right and wrong and some people hold to that.

      Delete
  8. http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/30/living/telegraph-nick-crews-email/index.html?iref=obnetwork

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm confused. How is it remotely possible to consider Hermione a sociopath??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like your blog, Maggie. Thank you for sharing it.

      Delete
  10. I miss my sociopath. I wish I could keep him as a pet.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I like this. The powertalk thing almost seems second to what people with real power do, however. Maybe some of the people who use powertalk have real power and are flaunting it, but I just can't see someone with real power flaunting it without very good reason. Real power is internal. Real power is self control. People with real power know that they can accomplish whatever they want to focus on. Be whatever they want. The rest of the petty power struggles that go on are just an external battle with self. That is indeed a hell.

    ReplyDelete

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