No, this is not going to be a long treatise on a barely comprehensible philosophical framework requiring you to have read 500,000 words of context-specific musings.
I leave that to my friend Garrett Dailey over at MasterSelf.
This is in reference to a podcast I recorded last night with Mohammed Afikur Rahman. It was a very strange experience, but it was also something that I’m glad to have done.
You see, Mohammed is a unique dude, and is quite literally not sane. I don’t mean that in the folk sense, but in the sense that his grasp on moment-to-moment reality is tenuous at best.
This is not to say that he is unintelligent, nor that he has little to offer, far from it in fact. He’s a very bright man, and in his lucid moments delivers a rapid-fire stream of insightful thoughts to contend with.
Even in his less than present moments, he still attempts to convey a message of unity and divine harmony, it’s just difficult for him to translate whatever he is experiencing into the common realm of experience.
However, as he was my guest on the podcast I created to give a platform to people with a message, I did my best to help him do just that.
The chaos of which I referred to in the title of this post is the scattered and rather disjointed musings of me pal Mohammed. There was much to consider in the words that he spoke, but they were not delivered chronologically, and were often quite non-sequitur in nature.
He also chanted and made sound effects, the latter of which were followed by a look which said, “You get the deep and profound meaning there, right?”
And I allowed myself to take it all in and let my synthesizing mechanisms go to work. I did extract meaning and connections from our conversation, as strange and uncommon as it was. And at the end of the conversation, I was glad to have spoken with Mohammed and to have given him a platform to communicate his message.
It will not be my most popular episode by any means, and few who listen will follow through to the end, but it taught me something valuable:
If you allow yourself to create a space free of judgement and receptive to discovering meaning, then regardless of the intent or content of the message, you will find the meaning which you were meant to find.
Thus, regardless of the messenger or their message, there is a deeper level of communication occurring at all times. It is a dialogue between God and all of existence, both of which you are a part of and, because of that, have access to if you know how to tune in.
If you wish to find meaning in existence, then you must understand that it is a unified whole, and there are messages encoded in even the most seemingly inane or random bits of it. It is for you to seek the message intended for you by opening yourself to the divine language.
In order to do this, you must free your mind of obstacles to the reception of the message.
Clear your mind and share your heart, my friends, and you will find that which you were meant to find.
I’ve been leveraging Twitter very heavily as a tool to express my thoughts, funnel traffic to my other projects and to make connections with people who are willing and able to help me build a better world.
I’ll still be doing that, but I am drastically cutting back on the time and volume spent on that platform for the next couple of months at least.
I have gained a great deal of momentum on Twitter, made connections with many incredibly talented and successful people, and created or joined several networks dedicated to helping each other improve along a number of different metrics.
Now is the time to begin to make those connections and the momentum of a highly engaged following work for me in different ways. As of today, I’m shifting the majority of my focus to projects that offer a greater degree of depth than 280 characters.
So, here’s the plan for my content output moving forward into the next few months at least:
1- One blog post per day
2- One email to my list per day
3- About one hour of engagement on Twitter per day, including on thread and thoughts I consider worth sharing
4- One live Periscope with a message of growth per day
5- Between 3-5 podcasts per week, 3 or occasionally 4 days per week
6- Working on my book projects at least 15 minutes daily
7- Daily time spent wholly focused on my family
The seventh item on that list is the most important one, and one which I’ve not been dedicating enough time to over the past several months.
I was able to write two books, start a podcast and a blog, create and join the networks mentioned above and more in this time, and I’m glad I did it, but I must now make sure to give my family the time and focus they deserve.
I’m so very grateful to have so many gratifying projects to fill me with passion and allow me to express my message, and I’m redoubling my efforts to provide those of you who consume my content with the tools, perspectives and people who will help you to become closer to the vision of your best self.
Logocentrifugal is spinning up for another level up, and you’re welcome to come with me.
I had a video meeting with one of my mental coaching clients this morning, and we were working though some of the obstacles he’s been dealing with in the past few weeks.
He told me that one of his big fears was that he would secure only enough work to maintain a standard of barely enough.
For a bit of context, this young man recently made a very daring jump from a stable career into working for himself. He set aside some money and went for it.
He’s been struggling with discipline and urgency, so he’s looking for tools to help him stay on track with the requirements that self-employment brings.
It’s understandable too, don’t you think. If there’s nobody expecting anything from you, with the exception of your customers, then it can be very easy to get distracted.
So, we’ve been working on some tools, habits and a mental framework to help him progress into a more disciplined and consistent paradigm.
As we were talking this morning, and during the segment of our conversation which revolved around the fear of complacency and doing just enough to get by, I wrote down something I’d like to share with you:
There’s nothing more uncomfortable than permanent comfort.
Let me reiterate:
There’s nothing more uncomfortable than permanent comfort.
I don’t want to cloud your own analysis of the phrase, so I’ll leave it there, but I strongly encourage you to think about that and how it might play out in your own life.
Thanks for reading,
P.S. Here’s a classic song by Sublime to listen to while you ponder:
This has worked both to my advantage and to my detriment, depending on the circumstances and how willing I’ve been to play certain games.
But, because I only play by rules that I’ve agreed to, I’ve found that there are straight lines where most believed only circuitous routes existed.
One of these straight lines I’ve discovered is in making connections with influential people.
When I first started playing that game, which I did to secure interesting guests on the Logocentrifugal Podcast, there were a lot of strange theories about how one might garner the attention of the major players in different fields.
I tried them, and they work to a certain extent, but they are time consuming and inefficient. I don’t like shit that’s time consuming and inefficient, especially if it’s doing something that isn’t something I’m passionate about.
So, I just decided to start being more direct about it.
“Hey, influential person, want to come on my podcast?”
That’s what I started asking my guests, often on the timeline of Twitter for the whole world to see.
It has worked more times than not, but then I began to refine the process further.
My friend, and something of a mentor to me, Jack Murphy told me once, “Lead with giving.” What he meant was very layered, but in this context it means something like:
Buy their book or product, say nice things about them, leave a review of their movie, drop a line in their DMs (if open) and tell them about a point they made that you appreciated, etc…
Do something nice for them before asking them to do something nice for you.
So, then the invitation became something like, “Hey, influential person, I just bought your book, want to come on the podcast and talk about your ideas?”
That works even better than the original tactic.
But, I’m an often unlikeable man, and my reach is not yet massive enough for my cult of personality to draw in the big names, so I’ve implemented another step to increase the likelihood that people will agree to come on my podcast.
I call it the dogpile technique. It’s a modified version of something I learned from me pal GRITCULT.
I have several networks that I’m either the leader or member of, and in those groups I will occasionally ask for a dogpile. This means that I’ll tweet out an invitation, having lead with giving, and then summon my crew to jump on the invitation and dogpile the momentum attached to the invitation.
So I might say, “Bought your book, it’s good, want to talk?”
Then my Logocentrifugoons will weigh in with things like:
“This would be an epic conversation.”
“Do it, I’d pay $15 to listen to this conversation.”
“Chance is a great guy to talk to, and your conversation with him would be like no other you’ve had.”
etc, etc, etc…
Plus, copious liking and retweets of the post itself.
The final piece of the Chance Lunceford Method I’ll reveal today is the handshake routine:
On all the dogpile comments, I use either fist-bump or handshake emojis, or something like a Clint Eastwood Nodding GIF to acknowledge the participation. Then my crew return the handshake. Then we all like each other’s handshakes.
Why do we do this?
Well, it’s quite amusing for one, and another reason is that the public display of camaraderie and respect looks and feels good, and the final reason is that the additional and prolonged engagement provided by the handshakes keeps the invitation, and the conversation around it, at the top of the notifications for the person I’m trying to recruit, and elevates the exposure to many more people on Twitter, which encourages organic engagement too.
Some of my friends who’ve noticed that I’ve had great success with this process have begun to emulate, including my friends Nick, Jeff and Daniel who just used this technique to begin discussions to have the one and only Jocko Willink come on their podcast The Unemployables.
That’s pretty badass.
So, if I can lure in national political pundits, the top influencers on twitter, and all manner of other influential and successful people, who are notoriously short of time, for a conversation with a weird stranger for over an hour, then imagine what you, a nice and likable person, will be able to accomplish once you step over that line.
Let the concerns over propriety and status drop entirely. If you want something, announce it and seek the support of the people who care about you.
Okay, I lied earlier, I’ll offer you one more piece of the Chance Lunceford Method before I let you go:
Be absolutely determined.
Keep pestering the people you want to talk to, keep hammering at the task you want to achieve, keep pushing at the resistance you wish to break through, and don’t stop until you either get what you’re after, or get a resounding, “Fuck off, we’ll never talk to each other.”
People aren’t drawn in by a technical manual, even a very clearly written one, they’re drawn in by memorable characters in a compelling story.
I’ve been learning and writing and speaking an awful lot about memetics.
Why is that, do you think?
Is it because I want to take over 4Chan or Reddit? Is it because I want to convince lots of people to wear a stupid fucking hat (pink/red whatever) and run for president?
It’s because I have a deep fascination with the world and how it works, and with extracting useful tools as the fruits of my fascination, and a compelling drive to share those tools with others.
So, after becoming aware that there was a lot more to memetic manipulation than a funny meme on the internet, I dived in and began to research and consume information on memetics and weaponized narrative.
What I discovered startled me.
Think of it this way: Who needs bullets if you can convince somebody they’re already dead, or even better, that it wouldn’t matter one way or the other?
The modern battlefield, though in many respects it always has been, is the mind. The weapons are stories, and the ammunition is memes.
How does this work?
Depends on who’s telling the story and why. If your goal is to sow discord, confusion and misdirection, then one excellent strategy is the firehose approach:
Keep spraying a constant stream of detrimental narratives through every available communication medium, automated wherever possible, and pouring additional resources those narratives that gain attention and engagement.
This needs to be an agile process to be optimal, because the speed of ideas and the brevity of attention spans means that there will be very few long-running narratives of any great note.
Thus, any narrative strategy must be able to both influence, if not directly design, the next chapter of the infinite story and to direct and redirect all available resources into flooding the new narrative nexus with attention.
An approach more suited to those who’s purpose is less about bringing down an enemy and more about shepherding and protecting a message is to corral your narrative within the framework of the principles guiding and giving shape to your message.
Principles are something that I’ve written extensively about, and this is because living by a code of conduct allows you to make decisions and respond to situations based upon an overarching framework.
The stronger your commitment to your principles, the more consistent and obvious will the choices before you be.
It is this approach of optimization within the bounds of rules that I suggest to anyone who will listen. There are many tools that can be used to influence other people, and if you practice them unrestrained by any sort of guiding ethic then you’ll influence people in a way that will be detrimental to them.
If you do this, it will haunt you.
Unless you’re a psychopath, but even so you would do well to remember that cooperative and symbiotic organisms are more resilient and fare better across the long term than parasites and organisms prone to solitude.
So, where are we at with all this so far?
Narrative weapons are being fired at you constantly
These weapons are so powerful that governments, major corporations, and powerful influences in every public forum use memetic tools and the power of story to build the momentum and permission to enact their agendas
You don’t have to be living in someone else’s story
You can write your own story
To do this most effectively, you must use the same tools that would otherwise be influencing you without regard to your best interests
Operating within the framework of principles will increase the consistency, efficiency and capacity for self-direction by giving shape to your experience and limiting the scope of the decision matrix
Take a step back and look at what you’re responding to.
Do you really give a shit about that politician’s personal life? Do you actually care about that law which was passed in <insert location x> that outlaws <insert whatever>? Is it really worth your time to entertain for more than a distracted moment what <insert celebrity> eats for their fucking breakfast?
You’ve got to remove yourself from the momentum of the narrative locomotion going on all around you. There’s no reason you should be letting the stories in circulation have free reign within the confines of your mind.
Your mind is the seat of your character, and the ideas it processes leave parts of themselves in the tapestry of your logos. Should you allow ideas and stories unmitigated use of your mind, then you will be shaped into the type of character that serves the aims of the dominant narratives.
This is not to say that dominant or submissive narratives are inherently good or bad, just that an examination of the contents and intent of the narratives you’re exposed to, combined with an analysis of the ramifications tied to the vehicles in which the narrative lines are carried, will lead you to a more fruitful, intentional, and self-directed life.
You can choose to go along with a story you’re told, of course, there’s nothing wrong with accepting a story line into your own life’s story, just be sure you’ve examined whether or not if aligns with your principles.
If it does, fine, run with it until you’re given reason to alter your perspective.
If it doesn’t, cut it loose and don’t let nostalgia or a desire to connect with the flows of popular attention get in the way of living according to your own best measure of truth.
Pad the deck.
You’ve got to understand that there is a space set aside, to a greater or lesser extent, in each person to accept and integrate stories and live according to their arc.
As a human being, a large part of the manner in which you communicate with the world around you, and the metrics by which you measure your own standing and purpose in it, are wrapped up in a complex narrative tapestry that is weaved by your mind’s attempts to connect to and place itself within the world in which it finds itself.
This is an ordering process, and without it, the richness of connection and meaning in each of our lives would not be possible.
The storytelling impulse within each of us is a grand gift indeed.
But you must determine carefully the threads of story which you allow to be threaded in the warp and the weft. You can always paint or dye the tapestry to create what pictures you may, but the medium upon which you paint your imagination must be well-wrought if your art is to last.
Thus, you must decide for yourself which story-threads you will integrate into the depths of your psyche and guide your subconscious drives and your conscious fascination.
There are many heroes in the dusty annals of the library of history, all you need do is select the threads and weave. It does require effort and attention, of course, for so does anything difficult and thus worth doing in this world, but that is no reason to stymie your selections.
The only tools we truly have to navigate the world are our attention and our effort. The extent to which you squander either is the extent to which you limit your own potential.
Here are some threads, in question form, which I suggest you find room for within the weaving of your tapestry:
What shape will you claim?
Who will you trust?
Who will you love?
From where have you begun, and where will you end?
Will you be free?
Who is your master?
What is it that you serve?
What is it that you seek?
To whom do you speak?
To whom do you listen?
There are many more questions you could ask yourself to further inform your own perception of your life’s story. I’ll leave that to you for now.
Declare your intentions.
There’s a weird thing that happens when you announce yourself to the world.
It tests you.
There’s a massive upswell of energy that rises to meet your declaration, and within that wave are the obstacles that you must overcome mixed together with the solutions to help you do so.
Very often, both obstacles and solutions present themselves as people.
By declaring your intentions, you will see enemies and allies make themselves know almost immediately. The ones who present themselves first are typically not the most influential though.
Masters play a subtle game.
If you’ve overcome some of the first-order obstacles and have conducted yourself well with the emissaries of change, then the demon-lords and the archangels will make themselves known to you.
This is a sign that you’ve created a compelling story.
Powerful people are attracted to powerful stories. This is because a powerful story can knock their story out of the position of primacy, or it can align itself with their story and widen the stream of power that flows through their hands and amplify their ability to influence events around them.
Thus, you will have forces seeking to crush your momentum, or to increase your inertia.
This is valuable.
Knowing your enemies allows you to determine where your weak points are and the form the attacks against you will coalesce around.
An enemy has an essence, characteristics, and these features will determine the ways in which their power can be expressed. This will allow you to bolster defenses in the areas that are most likely to be assailed.
Knowing who your potential allies are and comprehending their nature is also of massive benefit.
There are layers of growth, paradigmatic levels, and the nature of your benefactors power and the directions they cast it in will help you to understand where the gates to the next level lie, and to whom you will have to prove your value before you’re allowed through.
By understanding where your weaknesses and vulnerabilities are, combined with an understanding of where your potential and momentum are pointing to, you can make great strides towards your vision while protecting yourself form those who would see your vision destroyed.
Time for a bit of clarity.
You don’t need to announce every single aspect of everything you’re doing. In fact, that would be highly ill-advised.
You likely already realize that if you announce all of your plans, then your enemies will have more possible angles of attack, and you will have less ability to manage variables and predict attack strategies.
Here’s a good rule to consider:
Tell people nothing but the truth, and only as much of that as it requires to accomplish your purpose.
Truth is a valuable resource, and you ought to manage its movement in much the same way as your wealth.
Attack the attack.
There are only so many stories that can possibly stick to your memeplex, and there are an even smaller subset of stories that will have significantly detrimental effects upon your life.
The list is longer than many might assume, and this is why so many missteps are made by so many who spend time in the public eye.
Of course, in the last few years, the number of people spending time in the public eye has skyrocketed into the millions and billions.
One of the most powerful strategies to combat the public takedown tactics employed by the more vengeful and vindictive among us is to anticipate possible avenues of attack and to attack their legitimacy before they even become a problem.
Of course, if you’re painting a picture of one sort of life in the public forums, and then it is discovered that your actual life is actually almost nothing like your public persona, well…
Shit is not going to go well for you.
So, if you really hope to defend yourself from the ability to be taken out by some “Shocking Revelation, Read On” type situation, then you’re going to need to be in alignment with your public message to a very high degree.
If this is not the case, stop lying and go fix your message then come back and finish the article, if not then realize this:
If you are living in accordance with your principles and message, and are not doing anything significantly illegal, then the attempts by your enemies to slander you will have no basis in any reality you are not prepared to confront and you’ll be able to argue against their point with genuine intention and informed belief.
This is a good position to be in.
Especially after some time, because then, as long as you’ve been consistently living according to the dictates of your message, you’ll have seen every kind of attack that will come your way and have great facility in dispensing with them.
Bring it together.
Look, there’re a million more pieces to this, and strategy is an infinite game of exponential complexity.
But there are underlying principles that govern much of our society, even if the interactions based upon those principles can be complex beyond understanding, but by understanding the rules of the game much can be gained.
Think of narrative architecture in the same manner as you think of physics:
There are concrete underlying rules that govern the interactions of the emergent features of the substrate over which the rules are both enmeshed within and governing over.
Though these rules give rise to the infinite complexity and expanse of existence, we can create powerful tools and modes of being by aligning and exploiting the nature of the interactions between the governing forces, and these creations allow us to manipulate the world around us to the advantage of our intentions.
This is exactly the same way the the rules of narrative influence work, but we were not overtly aware of these rules in the western public discourse until the last 70-100 years.
There have, of course, always been those who understood the rules and the underlying mechanisms of action that could be manipulated to induce a high probability of specific outcomes, but they kept that information to themselves.
The ubiquity of the modern communication networks, and the rapid and limitless access to information of any and every kind, combined with an intentionally sown field of distrust and confusion, means that there are many waking up to the reality of the tools used by those who have been manipulating their lives behind the scenes for their entire lives.
This revelation has sent the world reeling.
Guard yourself and prepare yourself for the reality of the true battlefield, because it takes place in your mind.
The most efficient memes affect more than single thoughts or even a particular concept.
They have additional cognievolutionary adaptations that produce a broader spectrum of effects, including emotional responses and conditioning responses.
I realize cognievolutionary is a cumbersome word, but I just coined it anyway.
And, indeed, anyway, back to the matter at hand:
These memeplexes, which are multiple memes engineered in tandem to create a cascade of thought, emotions and physical responses to the message, are able to produce a very powerful and integrated response in the target host.
Some memes confer benefits to the host in a symbiotic relationship, while other memes drain the host of resources in one way or another, before replicating and spreading.
If you were to imagine a spreading of information between humans taking the shape of a fungal-like webbed fractal network of neurons communicating vast and profound thoughts about the world it is inseparably connected to but irreparably ignorant of though an intricate and vanishing neurochemical dance of mental alchemy, then you’d be imagining exactly correct.
Just like a dance, there are skilled and awkward and mob and every other kind of approach to the passing of a concept from thought space into the realm of the two hands.
Manifestation of thoughts into reality takes place in this interrelated and interconnected foam of substance into which the emergent features of the thought-form execute their code and iterate.
Sure, this is all a bit hippy-dippy stuff right here, but the reality remains that our lives as humans are spent as distinct yet inseparable parts of the universe, that as such, what can be said about us can be said to be integral to the existence that exists, meaning emergent patterns given birth by the relationship between the rules which are necessary to allow for existence to iterate are fractal and scalable.
If you imagine your favorite meal, what do you experience? Can you see your steak or salad or whatever? Can you smell the garlic in the steam from the soup and the citrus-notes in the sauvignon blanc? Where are you while you’re eating it? What kind of dishes are you eating and drinking out of? Who is with you and what do you hear?
Do you want to eat that meal right now?
Can you almost taste it?
There are ways inside your head and past your defenses at all times. This is why humble self-reflection and habit removal and replacement are such valuable skills. Because even if your defenses are bypassed, you are in possession of a cognitive immune system that allows you to protect against maladaptive mental perspectives and helps to reframe your understanding in ways that are more beneficial.
Just think about a few of the vectors for memetic transference for a moment:
-> Voice (Songs, catch one-liners, slogans etc…)
-> Text (Books, social media, text messages, and so forth…)
-> Mimetics (Copying behaviors of those around you)
What if you could tap into these intentionally to evoke emotions, to create physical sensations, to unite many ideas under one banner and to create ritualized gestures to add even more power to the crafting of your narrative framework?
What if you could influence people to do anything as long as it fit comfortably in the pockets of their their ignorance, the wounds of their denial or their dangling of their dreams?
Do any of these ideas seem familiar to you?
Let’s add in a fourth vector for memetic transference:
-> Visual (Movies, television, billboards, internet memes)
What if you could activate visceral reactions instantaneously and then imprint certain thoughts or ideas onto that reaction?
What if that trigger became wide-spread, so that you were likely to see it over and over again, so that the likelihood of creating a conditioned response was very high?
I’m sure you’re beginning to see the outline of the memetic convergence idea, but let me define it a little better for you:
A memetic convergence is an amplification of the impact of a meme by creating a memeplex (multiple cooperative memes in a single conceptual framework) which targets multiple sub-systems of the intended host.
These include sensory cues (sound, sight, etc…), emotional cues (anger, frustration, nostalgia, etc…), cognitive cues (ideas and related concepts, etc…) and others besides.
By creating multiple vectors, these high-impact memetic convergences deliver a far more powerful influential impact upon the host, and make them much likelier to propagate and spread, due to the ability to target a new host on multiple fronts.
What do the Apple logo, Donald Trump, Michael Jackson and the American Flag have in common?
Well, besides the country of their origination, they also have a vast amount of information encoded into their very essence. When you think of any member of the above list, you’re likely to see a mental image, to feel feelings, to have a visceral response and to have a chain of thoughts occur to you.
The conditioned response to these influential symbols is no accident. There were/are very large and powerful marketing apparatuses behind each of these icons. It is no small wonder that Donald Trump became our president, because he understands how to get inside people’s heads and stay there.
If you think about something long enough, then you seek to have it or become it. By staying continually in the spotlight of every conceivable information distribution channel, people like Donald Trump have hijacked our cognitive hardware to advance their own narratives.
These narratives are designed to shift your attention to a desired set of further memetic vectors which will instill specific beliefs and concepts into your psyche. This is where sociology finds great use.
Humans who believe a thing will not necessarily act logically based upon that belief, but they will act consistently. They won’t all act the same way either, but there will be pockets of behaviors that do act in line with each other.
By observing over time how certain concepts and delivery vectors create shifts in behavior, one can, given enough time and skill, design memetic convergences which can shift the behaviors of an entire nation.
These are the methods of the modern political landscape. These are the tools in the modern marketing juggernaut’s toolbox. These are the tools which were developed by the three-letter-agencies of the world to a massive degree during the Cold War. These are the tools that have been shifting the culture in massive ways since WWII.
These shifts in culture, and the Story Wars that have created them, are no accident. Nor or they a casual experiment. These wars have been underway for decades, and they are aimed at defining the narrative paradigm under which every level of behavior, from individual to tribe to region to nation and so forth, is conditioned to respond within.
The question is, once you wake up to the fact that you’ve been fucked with for your entire life through every message you’ve received from the information delivery mechanism 0f corporate and political operations, will you continue to allow them to condition your behavior, or will you take responsibility for your own memetic dialogue and use these same tools to program your own best interests into your conditioning?
I hope you choose the latter, and that will be the subject of Narrative Warfare III which will be coming out in the days to come.
There have been coordinated and patiently planned and ruthlessly executed attacks on the American way of life, and on the underpinnings of the western world in general.
By hijacking the media apparatus, and subjecting the populace to thoughtfully crafted, easily adapted and very often automated malicious narrative generating mechanisms, the enemies of this country have introduced mass confusion and broken the truth-sense of the entire nation.
Of course, we’ve been doing it to ourselves for a long time.
In fact, the crafting of a narrative designed to gather attention and imprint itself upon the psyche of the populace is what gives a nation its identity. The stories that we tell ourselves shape how we view and behave in the world.
We are pattern seeking creatures, and then we seek to weave those patterns into a sequence. A series of connected events is what constitutes a story. And the story of the pilgrims, the founding fathers, etc.. are chapters in the American story.
The story that is written in the history books that our children are required to work from has been decided upon, and shaped, to unite the children to a common cause by telling a compelling story of heroes who did heroic things to build their heroic country so that they too can become heroes.
It has always been this way, and the quality of the story has determined, in large part, the quality of the country and the people within it.
These traditional unifying narrative constructs that could be universally (or nearly so) distributed and believed are how nations were able to unify their people around common causes, and to prepare the populace for war.
The practice of manipulating facts in the ramp-up for war, and the propaganda disseminated during the effort are as old as warfare itself. People will do what they think they must once the decision to shed blood has already been made.
But, as the 1800’s became the 1900’s, all this changed with emergence of several seemingly disparate, but undeniably connected events, and the world has never been the same.
What are they?
1 – Rapid long distance communication
2 – Rapid long distance travel (trains and airplanes)
3 – Surplus of capital
4 – The introduction of communism/socialism
Where once communication between distances could take anywhere from days to months, and the expense and time required made frequent contact with large groups across distances nearly impossible, innovation had now made possible methods of increasing coherence and fidelity, which resulted in the ability to communicate increasingly complex messages by increasingly sophisticated methods to an increasingly large amount of people.
Where once a message took many days to travel, a person, and especially a group of people, took just as long if not longer. Many never travelled, and few travelled further than 100 miles from their childhood home.
With the addition of travel by train and airplane, people could now travel further in a day, and in some cases in an hour, than they had travelled in their lives.
The opening of the world’s ideas to the masses, and the ability to travel the world to the relatively wealthy, meant a massive exponential growth in potential for capital and power.
Potential for capital and power is never left unexploited for long. Massive deals were struck, and international business empires became far more ubiquitous. Nations with experience with or aspirations of empire building reinvigorated their efforts.
As the growth these new frontiers inevitably delivered began to accrue in the hands of a very tight-knit group of pioneering business oriented families, many felt disenfranchised by the disparities.
This was occurring across most of Europe, and unrest was brewing, there were clamoring masses seeking answers to the unprecedented wealth being generated and stockpiled by the titans of business, and the resentment that the opulence of the lives these businessmen and their families displayed engendered in many was on the rise.
It was in this climate that a pair of thinkers named Engels and Marx wrote a collection of ideas that would undermine the national narratives of essentially every country in the world in the coming hundred years, destabilizing nation after nation thus creating ripe opportunities for high-impact insurgencies and rapid shock-and-awe military coups.
Combined with the lessons of impactful propaganda learned in the buildup to, during and in the decades after WWII, the world’s intelligence agencies refined and reformed the systems of information warfare.
You could indeed, upon engaging the fortunately clear lens of hindsight, say that the so-called Cold War was the first iteration in what would become a never-ending cycle of weaponized information warfare.
The differences in the approaches of the western world and the eastern block, ideologically based though they are, have drawn very clear differences in the real-world approaches to winning the story-wars.
While the US and other western nations have appealed to the unifying strength of a commonly held set of foundational beliefs, Russia, having had it’s foundational story already undermined by the economic brutality of the cold war and the unified front of the media and intelligence organizations of the western coalition, has taken a very different approach.
The KGB never dissolved or left Russia, they merely changed their letters and took over the entire country. Their allegiance was to themselves and their own interests, which were essentially all the latent economic capacities of the concussed former number-two power in the world.
By quickly disposing of any likely opposition and commandeering the media outlets to engage in a unanimous approach to state-crafted narratives, they were able to confuse and distract any attempts at coordinated efforts to stymie their ascension to total dominance.
Once power was consolidated, they continued and amplified their efforts at undermining the narrative apparatuses of the west.
Through the 80’s and into the late 90’s, they were largely unsuccessful at penetrating the western media landscape in anything more than a cursory and humorous way, due largely to a hawkish element in Washington who’s coalition bridged the party divide.
Thus, the news media shared a relatively united messaging apparatus, and the Hollywood element, traditionally more permissive with Marxist ideas, maintained a strong, independent, and capable man as the hero in most the stories.
This “rugged individualist” archetype began to show deep cracks by the turn of the millennium, due to the ubiquitous spread of the internet and the vulnerability and relatively unsupervised access of the young minds who dominated the landscape, and has obviously now been called into question in an obvious and concerted manner.
Thus, by using a rapid-fire approach of tossing every conceivable narrative weapon into the milieu of the internet, combined with the mechanisms of idea distribution being refined and optimized, and the resulting echo-chamber/tribal digital opinion pockets being influenced into escalating their own rhetorical partisanship, the hidden agenda and robotic and ubiquitous tools of the foundational narrative disruption scheme have been revealed.
In the coming days, I’ll be expanding this subject, showing some of the mechanism of distribution and their evolution, as well as how to defend yourself against such tactics and to master them for your own devices.