Three SERIOUS QUESTIONS I’d Like Your Help With…
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So, 2011 is going to be a serious year for me. Since I’ve spent the last few years working on getting myself focused and disciplined, I now have a lot of faith and my upcoming success…
But, like always, with that higher level of accomplishment comes a higher level of conflict, and, even deeper, what I’ve found is that as you reach a certain levels of development, what you used to think was unconscious inner-conflict (i.e fear) actually becomes a set of conscious philosophical dilemmas.
What happens is you learn to consult with your own intelligence so that you don’t proceed in a direction (or move at a pace) that’s not right for you.
So here’s a few questions I’ve been “marinating on’ for the last few days that I’d like your opinion on:
I.| Do power and influence natural corrupt the person who acquires them? Is “evil” inherent in the process of gaining power, or is it a type of consciousness independent of power itself???
II.| Is persuasion ethical? Can you justify using persuasion (i.e. psychological control of another person) if it results in positive behavior??? And
III.| Is the use of video destroying our intelligence? I know this is a little out there, but what I’ve realized is that the style of a learning-video (the teacher’s character) DETRACTS from (and supercedes) the substance of it (the actual ideas themselves), so what I’ve been thinking is that trend towards online video (including educational sector of it) is leading to the EXTINCTION of critical thought (while on surface, seeming to progress it).
So I’m about to go more in-depth with each one but remember that I’d like your opinion on this: nothing’s too deep or too shallow, or too long or too short. I’d just really appreciate it if you left me a comment below.
———— On Power & Influence ————
QUESTION #1: Does power and influence naturally corrupt the people who gain it? Does the acquisition of power inevitably, slowly and gradually alter someone’s perception of the world, causing them to BE-come what they original planned to OVER-come???
The analogy here is that last Star Wars trilogy, “Revenge of the Sith,” where you learn the history of Darth Vader and actually come to sympathize with his character and his personal conflict…you find out that what eventually came to be “evil” began as an honest and authentic (albeit confused) desire for good…
I’m asking because as I see what’s possible with what I’m doing here, and as I get better at focusing and disciplining myself to actually do it, I notice a couple things happening.
One is that I’m stepping into a position of power and influence, and people are beginning to accept my ideas on faith without actually THINKING about them themselves…
…so my mind immediately goes to those classic quotes about how “power corrupts absolutely” and to fables (or actually history) who attained a position of power and mis-used or abused it.
Since I’ll be in a position of leadership and influence that I’m unfamiliar with, my fear is that I’ll unexpectantly change because of the pressures, demands and dynamics of that position.
Basically, I don’t know what’s going to happen and I’m worried that it might be something BAD…
I was talking to a friend last night about this, and she came up with historic examples of powerful people who used it for good (Malcolm X, MLK, Huey P., etc. etc.), but it still didn’t completely free me from the fear.
Another friend recommended the book “Power vs. Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior” (Hawkins), which I haven’t checked out yet…
On a deeper note, supposing this to be true – supposing that power DOES naturally corrupt – doesn’t that cause people with positive intentions to relegate power to those with evil ones???
In other words, if we want the world to be a better place, we need people with good intentions to have power, but if people with good intentions assume or believe that power naturally corrupts, then they’ll never seek it and it’ll AUTOMATICALLY go to people with negative ones.
It’s been eating at me for the last 2-3 days…
———— On Persuasion and Psychology ————
QUESTION #2: Should someone use persuasion to get someone ELSE to take a positive action? How can someone with that skill judge the ethical extent to which he’ll use it???
Here’s an example (this is kind of ill, but bear with me…it’s the perfect way to explain):
So I was watching some video-coaching the other day (on how to grow your business if you sell information…books, consultation etc. ), and the guy explained how you need to stop selling information and start selling RESULTS instead…
Not only do you want to frame the product as a result (in the marketing), you also want to get the person consuming it (reading the book, watching the video, or whatever) to ACT on you gave them (so that they can actually get the result you sold them on).
So if you want them to act, you can’t just educate them on what specifically to do, you also have to “motivate” them (read, use psychology ON them) to push them into action….
In other words, you use your understanding of psychology to gain leverage over the other person and get them to do the things your suggesting they do, (rather then just say, “do this, do this and then do this….”)
So, as an example, he advised someone who sells weight loss and exercise information to say, as a headline in their advertising:
“Lose your weight or LOSE YOUR HUSBAND to that skinny bitch at the office…”
See what’s being done? Once he found out that the typical client was a married, overweight woman, he leveraged her subconscious fears of cheating, divorce and abandonment to get her attention…
…but it was to do something positive! (*Lose weight, exercise, eat healthier, etc. etc.) So even though it is jacked up, it can be argued to be a “win win” situation for everyone involved.
Now of course, that’s going a little bit too far…I used this just to exemplify the science. Truth is, we all do this to some extent or another (do or say things to influence someone else’s behavior), but it’s the boundary I’m concerned with.
What I’m really asking here is, where do you draw the line??? Once you have drawn a line, how do you know you’re not getting too close to unintentionally crossing it?
Even further, mixing it with the power and influence piece of above, when you’re in a position of power and have this skill, what kind of road are you headed towards???
I literally know of people who, right now, can send an email out to a list of about 300,000+ subscribers, say “Hey, I just put this video up: come check it out and let me know what you think…”, and then send them to a video where they use a series of psychological levers (mixed in with some actual knowledge and valuable material, of course) to get them to buy something.
Whether the product is actually helpful seems besides the point: I’m concerned with the ethics and the path the person doing it is heading towards…
Which leads into my last question…
———— On Video and the End of Literacy ————
QUESTION #3: Should I really be using more video? Are there side effects to this trend that I’d be encouraging? Does it simple allow me to connect with audience more or does it DETRACT from the content of the actual ideas (and therefore inhibit true learning)???
1.) Video is contributing to our age of an attention-deficit society, and
2.) Video places STYLE over SUBSTANCE…
When your watching video, you’re really more impacted by the person’s CHARACTER rather then the material itself…in fact, if you think about it, that’s where your attention automatically goes by default.
Someone who has a ton of great ideas and insightful information, but who’s boring or unattractive will never get anywhere near the same type of response as someone who’s energetic, lively, charismatic or any of the other traits salesman or entertainers typically have (even though their actual ideas may be mediocre at best).
The simple medium of video DETRACTS from the overall purpose teaching implies. Not only are most videos crafted to ADAPT to our society’s inattentiveness, but the simple act of having a video-emphasis ENCOURAGES it…
For instance, the more video I do, the more I get responses like:
“What’s that pendant you’re wearing around your neck?” or
“I really loved your video and your energy…I’m just wondering: how did you get to be so knowledgeable at a young age??? What’s your story?”
…or other comments that have absolutely nothing to do with the material.
And the LESS I get responses that actually question or inquire into what I’m saying (responses that show the viewer is actual thinking THEMSELVES, rather then just being entertained).
Video distracts attention away from the raw knowledge (by placing it on the character, the setting, etc.) while reading forces attention to go in-depth with it (because there’s nothing else to focus on but the knowledge itself).
So in my view, the advent of online-video is helping us become the first ever literate but still IL-literate society, and since I want to encourage critical thought and introspection, I’m not so certain if I want to hop on that bandwagon…
———— Concluding Thoughts ————
These are just some of the issues I’m currently tackling…the internet (being an intangible medium) can be a highly-leveragable platform for subtle mind-control, so thought-leaders in this forthcoming world have a lot of ethical questions they need to pose to themselves about how they’re going to do their thing…
Again, these are just SOME of the philosophical dilemmas I’m dealing with now…it’s what happens when you learn how to set and achieve goals: a whole new world of drama, conflict and decision making opens up.
Wyatt Woodsmall (an NLP practictioner) said “You’re never going to solve all of your problems, you’re only going to inherit more sophisticated ones.”
It’s a lot like when an older guy looks back on his high school years when he THOUGHT his big problems were getting a girlfriend, impressing his boys and what have you. It’s a whole new world of meaning…
Leave me a comment and let me know what you think…