[ExI] hasta be a pony in here somewhere

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Sun Nov 20 11:45:13 UTC 2016

On Sat, Nov 19, 2016 at 9:52 PM, spike <spike66 at att.net> wrote:
> If any high school student can read Nineteen Eighty Four without being
> deeply moved, that person cannot be moved.

### I must admit I nowadays avoid books like 1984, Fahrenheit 451 or Atlas
Shrugged. Dystopia affects me. The words of Wesley Mouch cut too close to
CNN copy (which I also avoid like the dickens). Rationally I do not see the
world as particularly dystopian, regardless of current politics, but in
extracurricular reading I still seek nourishment and hope.

In search of lighter fare I read Cixin Liu's Three Body Problem trilogy,
and the reading went from graphic Cultural Revolution descriptions to the
multiverse as the mutilated corpse of a greater multidimensional reality
slaughtered by godlike civilizations, who are driven by inexorable laws of
game theory to inflict existential atrocities on the vermin, such as
humans, who germinate in dark corners. Bummer.

Cialdini's Pre-Suasion is quite interesting, even if the incredible effect
sizes he cites in studies of minor message manipulations on human
decision-making are, well, a bit incredible. But still, he shows credibly
that the human brain is hackable under today's information warfare
conditions. Back in the EEA humans evolved bullshit detectors suited to
gossiping and politicking in small hunter-gatherer bands but now we have
pros feeding the masses industrial-strength, highly concentrated bullshit
that overwhelms many. It looks like my policy of studiously avoiding mass
media has sound scientific justification.

The Kindle Oasis though is a great pleasure to use. So light! But Cialdini
says that light books (as in weighing few ounces) subconsciously evoke the
notions of lightness and of lacking real substance that weaken their
intellectual impact as compared to heavier tomes. Or maybe he is just
trying to sell me a hardcover copy of his book?

Stay ornery my friends, don't let anybody pull the wool over your eyes.
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