Monday, October 22, 2012

Hierarchical strategies

When Deep Blue beat Gary Kasparov at chess, was it because it ran an algorithm that searched the decision tree and spit out good moves, or was it because it spit out the specific set of moves that worked well against Kasporov's moves? Okay, stupid question.
If you're trying to learn chess, you could try memorizing "canned" sets of moves, but due to the exponential tree growth, that will only get you so far. So you could try to learn the heuristics that pop out the specific sets of moves - maybe "take out the queen first" or something. But then you're limited to the strength of those heuristics. Maybe you could work at an even higher level of abstraction so you can generate your own heuristics and know better when to use which heuristic.
There's sorta a hierarchy of abstraction with concrete moves at the bottom and chess theory at the top - and you can improve your game at any level.

Influence is a similar game. Working entirely at a low level is tough because you don't really know what you're doing. However, it can work. Mystery and early PUAs did get success with a fairly mechanical approach. It's just that there are serious downsides. You're either working by trial and error, copying someone else's insights and hoping you can apply them without getting stuck in unfamiliar territory - or worse - shooting yourself in the foot.
It also keeps you from being mentally healthy, since you constantly need to act against your "natural inclinations" by micromanaging yourself with consistent frontal overrides.
As an example of what happens when you study mechanics to the neglect of inner game, this guy cracks me up with his embedded commands. You should............CLICK THIS LINK, and watch the first 30 seconds or so because it's fucking funny (and about that subtle). Huh... I feel funny.... its almost like I want to... JOIN THIS GROUP. Oh god... but seriously, no. You guys all caught that, right?
I get the feeling that this guy is laughing to himself and patting himself on the back every time he "uses embedded commands" or "gives a reason". It kinda makes it seem like he thinks he has to "manipulate" people into joining the group, which doesn't exactly engender trust.
It is similar to the stereotypical sleazy used car salesman. No one likes them, and to the extent it works, it's a short term success.

Or you could also take the opposite approach. You could work entirely at a high level and wait for it to propagate down into your behaviors. Instead of memorizing elevendy billion canned routines so that you might have one on hand, you just remember a few rules like "be confident" and "non needy attention" - or better yet, genuinely live in the frame that you're worthwhile and don't need people to like you in order to feel good about yourself. And then just watch your behaviors fall in line without needing any frontal overrides/micromanagement of yourself.
The upsides of this are pretty huge. It's so much less work and so much more mentally healthy. If you're gonna make an effort at all, start here.
Although great, high level stuff is far from the end of the story. If all you do is get your high level inner game in line, all you'll get is really good results. Unbelievable results will be out of reach. Your average self confident and trustworthy guy still can't get people to experience pain free surgery without anesthetics. You can't be a munchkin and game the system until you know the rules. You're also vulnerable to accidents where your signals convey an inaccurately bad image and you're not aware enough to fix it. To really excel, you need to look at low level mechanics.
Your efforts on the low level mechanics are not separate from your high level work. Your high level work tells you what you want to do. Your low level mechanics tells you exactly how to do it. They fit together. High level stuff allows you to congruently act out the precise behaviors recommended by low level mechanics and points you in the right direction. You're aiming to be one congruent fine tuned machine.
Another cool thing is that when you start to look at what low level mechanics are desired, it points to where you need to be coming from for it to be natural. It illuminates the path to even stronger inner game. Since studying the mechanics, I've made progress towards generalized asymbolia. Simply because mechanics showed me what it would feel like and realized that it would be desirable.
When you have mastered your inner game and outer game, you can do things that inner-game-onlyers never dreamed possible - and effortlessly achieve results that the mechanics-onlyers think hard about, only to miss blindly half the time.
As you acquire a deeper understanding of the theory behind the mechanics, you move from script reading to designing spells to just saying what you mean and meaning what you say.
Beginning hypnotists often want "scripts" to follow - magical scrolls that, when recited, produce magical changes. The next step is learning some of the mechanics of witchcraft so you can design your own spells.
The real mastery comes when you say these things because you mean them. The intent comes across in subcommunication, and you know exactly how to respond if it doesn't work or if you're questioned.
This is no longer anything "weird" and outside the realm of natural communication. There's no "Are we doing hypnosis yet?", because there is no "hypnosis". It's just seamless - because you're not pasting any "tricks" into your conversation.
Say you are trying to produce analgesia - you might have designed a spell as follows "Can you remember what it feels like when your arm falls asleep? When I snap my fingers, you will feel it! [abracadabra!] Now you feel it! Your arm is numb!". That could work - especially with a good subject that is a bit tranced out already. But if you plow ahead without calibrating that it's going to work, you might get "it didn't work!" and you might be stumped. You threw up a long shot and missed.
Once you're more intuitively comfortable with suggestion, you might say "Look at me - good, now take a deep breath and listen carefully. I have helped a lot of people feel comfortable in these kinds of situations, yeah? <nodding for agreement> I want you to know that sensation is just your body's way of getting your minds attention... and that it's possible to dissociate that sensation from.. any unpleasantness - now that you know you're safe and are doing what you need to in order to take care of yourself.. you can just acknowledge that signal... and notice the difference. Make sense? Good - I want you to go ahead and do that now and just smile when you feel the relief :)"
With that approach, there is no magic that may or may not work. I mean, in the end, it may or may not work, but when it doesn't it's no mystery why. Maybe they don't follow instructions when you demand their attention - well duh it won't work if you don't follow instructions. Maybe they say they can't do it now. Okay, it's not currently in their locus of control - keep working to bring it in. "Okay, can you imagine what that would be like? What's stopping you?" or "I'm sure you've done this before.. without even realizing it. You're a hockey player - you ever notice that you don't feel the bruises until the game is over? The signals simply don't matter at the time.." and etc.
And if you were simply a self confident trust worthy guy that knew zero mechanics... well, you'd be pretty stuck not knowing what to say. You wouldn't know about the importance of securing their undivided attention. You wouldn't know to prime them with thoughts of comfort and to avoid words with strong feelings like "pain". You wouldn't know it's even possible.
You want to understand things on every level. You want to know exactly what you're doing and why you're doing it - and have it flow out as the natural response to that situation. You don't want to be "tricking" people, you want to genuinely mean it.

No comments:

Post a Comment