When it comes to persuasion the higher the emotion the less facts you need to justify it.
Think about that last sentence. It is important.
Lately there have been several groups of people using high emotional states that are tied to current events to lead people into their way of thinking. When a group of people all have the same emotion it begins to feed on itself. The more people that have the emotion the LESS facts needed to justify that emotion.
Lately it has been the emotions of hate and fear. As we have seen they are a deadly combination.
How does this work?
Well in order to understand this you have to understand how your brain works. The brain is very lazy. It does a lot of things so it is always looking for the shortest path it can take to make decisions. When it comes to emotions it is even lazier. It evolved that way in order to allow us to make quick decisions when we were living in caves in a physically challenging environment. We call this the primal brain because it was the first part of the brain to develop. It holds all of our survival instincts.
The neocortex , new brain, formed later in our development. It allows us to use logic and have problem solving skills. It is where we can use reason to solve problems and conflict. It is where we invent tools. It is the seat of our creativity.
The problem is that the neocortext, when it comes to persuasion, is the weaker part of the brain. Everyone has done this. When someone is having an emotional response to something you know you have tried to use logic to get them to calm down. It almost never works. The reason is that the primal brain is much more powerful. Structurally it has less connections because it is built to react quickly to danger or pleasure.
Once you understand how the emotional primal brain works it makes it easier to explain how someone with an agenda can tap into those emotions and get you to make an emotional based decision with very few facts.
Once that is done something very interesting happens. Your brain starts to gather information that supports that decision. The emotional brain is now guiding the information gathering logical part of the brain. Now that decision making part of the brain is looking for ‘facts’ to support what it already has made a decision on.
The next step is even more scary. The brain becomes more sensitive to anything that happens to support the emotional decision. So it needs less reliable facts to justify what it already believes. You begin to choose what facts you will believe and which ones you will not believe. You reject any fact that does not support you point of view no matter how true or compelling it is. Then you find a ‘reason’ that you should reject it.
So lets get to the HATE.
If I can get you to fear something I can get you to hate it. If you are already afraid or angry it is even easier. If I can get you to hate it then I can give you ‘facts’ about why that hate is justified. Once that happens you will find even more reasons on your own to have that hate.
As I said before… if you can get a group to do this then the result is amplified because group think takes over and you feed off of each others reasoning and emotions. Now I have a group that feels even more hate that one person alone would feel. All I have to do now if giver you a direction to take action on that hatred. I can now completely control your actions and beliefs.
Now for the piece that should scare you…. this is being done to you on purpose.
I don’t care if you are democrat, republican, white, black, purple or square. Your emotions are being used to try and move you to take action and to bypass your logical reasoning part of your brain.
So a few weeks ago I am walking through St Petersburg Russia. I am with a friend and he points out a sign. It has a Ferrari, a sexy woman and…. an ice cream bar. You might ask yourself what does a Ferrari and a sexy woman have to do with ice cream? Logically nothing. Emotionally if I can trigger sexual feelings and fast red Ferrari feelings and attach them to ice cream… What do you think you are going to feel when you see the ice cream in the store? Yes you want the ie cream and can’t really put your finger on why.
My reason for writing this today is that I think it is time to begin asking yourself some questions…. when you begin feeling badly towards others. How did you get there? Is it because you really sat down and thought it out or… were you led there by those who have an agenda?
As we have recently seen this kind of emotional manipulation can end up being deadly. It might be time to rethink how you make decisions and maybe reconsider who you gather information from.
Hate and fear are powerful. Don’t them them make you stupid.