Sidney Mazzi – 13 min read
To get a firm understanding of humans’ inner worlds, we dig into their reality — an essential theme of this book that permeates all parts. You will begin to see why warming up was necessary.
CHAPTER 6 – HAUNTED BY MEANINGS – Hidden Associations (shorter version)
As usual, we will start with an exaggerated example to illustrate the idea:
Tell a human this story: Multiple and personal codebooks
Imagine two ships displaying flags. Lookouts on each vessel observe the flags and report what they see to their respective messengers who each have a list of flag codes and their meanings.
Or, imagine two castles communicating using smoke signals. In both situations, the lookouts and messengers interpret the signals and explain the meaning to their captains.
As already discussed, communication problems are inevitable. Overall, though, the messages would be understood, right?
What would happen, though, if each ship or castle had different codebooks and were not aware of the fact? “My God!” you say. “It would be a mess!” Yes, any human can see the problems this system would create — especially if the captains were oblivious to the codes’ different meanings.
How does this apply to humans? And how can you use it against them?
Do you know that every human has an inbuilt codebook to decipher his environment? It’s true. And, like the messengers’ interpretations, each human’s book of codes is different. Consequently, humans appear to be talking about the same thing, but many times they are not. So, it is possible to observe completely different behaviours between humans facing the same situations.
It is important to point out again that, most of the time, the Captain is oblivious to the fact that the information he receives is misleading or entirely false. And, as discussed in previous chapters, when the Messenger manipulates information en route to the Captain, anything can become reality.
To understand, first we should demonstrate some simple examples of how the same situation (or flag or smoke signal) can have alternative meanings to different groups of humans.
A discussion can be an exchange of ideas or a chance to see who is best: If a human associates a discussion with a chance to see who is the best, like a battle, it’s not surprising he will be defensive and refuse to change his mind, even when presented with undeniable facts. In this case, he will listen to arguments, not to reflect, but to identify flaws to attack, and he will be immune to reason. This human is a ‘gladiator’, and finding a solution or the truth isn’t his ‘thing’. At the same time, if the human associates discussion with an exchange of ideas to discover the truth, he will act differently in the same situation.
Once you recognise, what we call “Hidden Associations”, it’s easy to understand some behaviours. Let’s look at some other examples:
A human gives advice that isn’t followed: In this situation, a particular kind of creature will get extremely ‘pissed’ because refusal to heed his advice is a ‘clear sign’ of disrespect. He doesn’t know, but for him, not having his advice followed suggests he has no control over other humans or that they don’t care for his guidance. For others, though, having their advice followed, or not, has no association with disrespect or a lack of control. It’s just advice. Consequently, not being adhered to is no big deal. “Hey, at the end of the day, they can do what they want!”
Money can be a currency to trade, a measure of success or compensation for a weakness: So, as expected, when faced with the possibility of losing money, humans can react in many different ways — even two equally wealthy humans. All due to the meanings each human associates with losing money. For one, who uses money to compensate for some insecurity, even losing a few dollars can be devastating.
Looking at the three examples above, a clueless human would think that the topic of discussion, the advice provided, or the amount of financial loss, is the problem. However, for humans, life is far more complicated than that. In reality, what matters in the first example could be who wins; in the second, who is in control may be what counts; and, in the third example, the weaknesses or insecurities that a financial ‘hit’ exposes, and what winning or losing means, could be the cause of anxiety.
And the list goes on and on.
A luxury item, like jewellery or a car, can represent a symbol of success and social status to some humans. Alternatively, depending on how the owner displays his ‘bling’, for others he can be seen as a needy individual begging for social approval and recognition.
Also, a human might speak of his desire to own a business, but, in fact, he longs for freedom and recognition, not to be an entrepreneur. Read between the lines to understand what humans are really talking about.
Two humans spend months — even years — grieving the death of their offspring. Eventually, the father starts ‘living’ again; however, the mother continues to mourn. This situation causes tension between the couple. For the father, the death is a tragedy that will linger for the rest of his life, but, regardless, he wants to be happy again. For the mother, however, a return to happiness could mean she doesn’t love her offspring enough, and, in this case, if she starts enjoying life again, it wasn’t valuable enough to be remembered — she’d be a terrible mother. Can you see how far things can get? In this case, the mother views her partner’s perspective as disrespectful, a threat to the worthiness of their child’s life. She, however, isn’t fully aware of where her anger originates.
DIFFERENT MEANINGS IN HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS
A human can be considered attractive because he is fashionable (dresses well) and has a muscular body. Alternatively, an unfashionable slob can be viewed as a ‘good catch’ because he appears traditional, less influenced by fads and more likely to be stable in a relationship. And, just like the other cases, of course, humans are usually unaware of all the associations behind whom they find attractive — they just know they find another either ‘hot’ or not.
In the same way, a human can choose a partner because he (or she) is charismatic and strong. Or, he can love her because of a weakness — some disability or illness. How come? Well, to this human, a ‘flawed’ mate could make him feel more important and safe; in his mind, she is less likely to abandon him for another. So, he sees a weakness and is attracted to the possibility of feeling important and powerful (being needed and able to help). He might also relish the opportunity of being in a stable relationship. But, the human won’t recognise his motivations; he just knows that he likes the other human who just happens to have a weakness.
Generally speaking, you might presume that a human will be attracted to another who treats him with respect and allows freedom in a relationship. Some poor souls, though, are turned on by dominant, disrespectful partners whom they see as superior to themselves. In these cases, a show of respect could be perceived as a sign of weakness — a real turn off. Yes, it can get as crazy as that. And, in both cases, fixing the ‘problem’ (curing the weak partner or convincing the dominant one to show respect) could threaten the relationship.
Here’s one more example that is a bit less obvious: A heterosexual female human could be attracted to homosexual males because they don’t desire her. Simple as that. We will show you two possible reasons:
First, deep down, she may believe that if she succeeds in her seduction, she will feel more wanted and beautiful, which is intensely arousing to her. After all, this guy doesn’t even like women! If she can ‘get into the sack’ a man who isn’t attracted to the opposite sex, what does that mean about her? She must be mind-blowingly amazing, that’s what! Of course, she won’t admit, or even be aware of, her reason for pursuing homosexual men and may make all kinds of assumptions about the reasons behind her desire.
Or, here’s another possible reason for the attraction: At Crew level, the female may imagine that she will be able to be more aggressive during sex and assume that her homosexual partner won’t respond with force. In this case, she might find the fantasy of full expression, without the typical consequences of aggressive behaviour, enticing. Here again, the human will most probably be unaware of all her assumptions, unless she investigates her thoughts at a deeper level — which almost never happens.
So, of course, we have used extreme examples to show the power of Hidden Associations. As you can see, they can drive humans to make significant life decisions without knowing the assumptions that lead to them.
Now, return to the last few paragraphs where we explained a female human’s attraction to homosexual males and re-read them a couple of times. Can you see any problems? Probably not. However, believe us, the fact that we used a female, instead of, as usual, a male to explain our point can, for some humans, mean we are misogynistic. They won’t just imply this understanding, either; they will be absolutely certain. The thing to understand is that Hidden Associations can be radically different from human to human, but the outcome is usually powerful. Humans reach important conclusions with a minimal understanding of the reasons why. They don’t treat it as a possibility, but most often as a logical and certain conclusion.
In another example, a human’s partner could be a best friend with sex, a housekeeper, a substitute for his mother, a trophy or the reason for living — a saviour and guardian of happiness. With these alternative associations, how different do you think human behaviour can be?
Let’s say that marriage can mean a contract that establishes the rules of a partnership or, alternatively, a symbol of ultimate success — the source of happiness. It is easy to see why humans react differently to the same relationship problems. For one partner, the threat of breaking up is far more distressing than for the other; therefore, each will react differently to a troubled relationship.
There are countless examples, and all because humans think everybody reads from the same codebook; they are confident that their, often erroneous, conclusions are correct. Just like a human who reads the wrong map and feels sure he is heading in the right direction, a wrong book of codes misleads a human’s interpretation of the world. So, often, humans’ Captains are receiving the wrong information and perceiving alternative realities.
Here is a funny situation: A female human asks her partner to wash the dishes and a refusal, or him doing a poor job, could cause trouble. Why? Possibly because, to her, the chore represents many other meanings, like how much he still cares about their relationship and whether there is still love. So, by refusing to wash the dishes or doing a poor job, her partner is secretly and unconsciously sending a far worse message than he thinks.
The same happens if a human complains about his partner’s cooking. Fair enough, no? Actually, she is livid for apparently no reason. And, eventually, the couple discuss whether they still love each other, whether they should remain together — all because of a meal! It is possible that the human’s partner concludes that not liking the food is a clue to a much broader meaning, which, again, both humans are unaware of. We kid you not.
CONTINUALLY CHANGING UNCHANGEABLE TRUTHS
Interestingly, most humans are unaware that what they believe to be universal truths have changed over time.
For example, among humans, dominance during sex is currently associated with being on top; in days gone by, however, dominating meant being beneath a partner. So, two humans who both want to be in the ‘driver’s seat’ can do so in opposite ways: one can be on top, and the other can achieve the same goal on the bottom.
In another example, currently, the size of a male human’s genitalia is usually related to power; it is commonly desired to be longer and bigger. In contrast, a large appendage was once considered something to be ashamed of — a characteristic of slaves.
Desired body shapes have also changed throughout history. So, many of the ‘truths’ humans believe are simply a product of their generation, and yet they act as if they have always been so. As a result, it becomes even more difficult for them to question the assumptions in their minds.
But, why don’t humans recognise that they interpret the same stuff differently?
Let’s investigate why and where this phenomenon starts.
In one last example, a common situation, especially in humans nearing maturity, is doing ‘forbidden’ things often connected to feeling more free and mature. So, not surprisingly, young humans do one thing when they actually seek something seemingly unrelated. For example, sometimes, an obedient human (good student) can fall in love with the ‘wrong’ type (troubled student). Dating the troubled student (against the rules) makes the good student feel more mature. Got it? Of course, the good student isn’t aware of what’s going on, but most often what the animal is really in love with is the feeling of adulthood, not the other human. In this case, to forbid the good student from meeting the other (an object of love) will just ‘stoke the fire’ — increase the animal’s ardour. After all, the more repressed a human animal is, the more it will desire to be free, given the link it makes. Crazy, wouldn’t you say?
So, as a hunter, you should always keep this in mind — that all things that lead to assumptions should not be treated as conclusions. Not as certainties, but as probabilities. The world is complicated, with infinite possibilities.
Let’s look at the source of the problem in another example.
Different reactions towards small mistakes: It can make a massive difference to a human’s life if, in his early years, he believes his caregivers accept (love) him unconditionally. You see, knowing he will be loved regardless of success or failure gives him emotional security. On the other hand, a human who believes his caregivers’ love is conditional, based on him meeting certain expectations, will live in constant alert mode. Naturally for him, and most often, even a small mistake can mean big trouble, and his insecurity will usually lead to all kinds of strange behaviours, like blaming others and denial. So, for this ‘conditionally loved’ human, there is much at stake with every action he takes, and he gets nervous whenever he makes a mistake. Even an innocuous critique can cause a flood of emotions due to all the meanings it represents.
So, this is where crazy associations that lead to unfathomable conclusions come from. Pay attention to a human’s behaviour in a particular situation — you’ll get some useful clues.
Tip: Whenever you see your prey complaining about something, try to see how similar the situation is to a problem from his past. For example, he complains that his boss does something (it could be anything, something small, like lack of attention or recognition) that irritates him profoundly. Then, investigate whether one of his parents used to do the same thing. Many times you will find striking similarities between both events. Why does this happen? Well, in a case like this, what irritates the human most is not the problem but the fact that he is facing it again — even though, as usual, he is unaware of the connection.
Perhaps the human is super sensitive because the problem he experiences with his boss reminds him how his father used to treat him. It’s like the issue never goes away — remember the Repetition feature?
And, of course, another human who never faced the problem when young probably won’t be bothered by the boss’s actions or behaviour.
THE HUMAN BRAIN’S ASSOCIATIONS CAN HAVE OPPOSITE & UNEXPECTED MEANINGS
To complicate matters further, it is possible for your prey to have not just slightly different, but totally opposite, meanings related to the same thing. As usual, it all comes down to what something means to each human.
For example, feeling pain (which one would naturally expect should be avoided) can lead a human to believe he is winning. And, so, he can enjoy it. The way a human views pain can considerably change his perception of, and interaction with, reality. You see, all kinds of links can happen. Suffering can mean something to be avoided, or it can have a good connotation.
Consider the following examples:
- Pain after exercising can feel good if the human links it to improving his body.
- Or, sacrifice (for religious purposes or some other cause) can be a sign of achievement, leading the human to believe he is different (better) than others who don’t forgo life’s comforts. Therefore, the human abstains from eating something he loves (meat or dairy, for example), and he feels good.
So, humans can suffer and feel better — they can take pleasure from sacrifice. In a simple example, the sacrifices of religion can be pleasurable if a human links them to getting closer to his god or paradise (a concept of afterlife for some humans).
Consequently, a religion can dictate that followers make sacrifices and follow certain rules. These followers will feel good because the rules and sacrifices have alternative and deeper meanings than just the pain you see on the surface. Also, obeying makes them feel like part of a group with a common cause that brings them a step closer to heaven, etc. Can you see all the rewards attached to sacrifice due to the meaning some humans can link to it?
So, these humans suffer and feel good, which sounds contradictory. As you can see, humans will react to situations depending on how each interprets things around them. Always dig deeper and ask yourself, “What does something mean for my prey?”
TO CONCLUDE BEFORE WE JUMP INTO THE DRAWERS
So, humans’ multiple codebooks lead to many possible interpretations of the same situations. Earth’s most advanced primates are oblivious to this truth and often can’t separate assumptions from facts.
It’s like they view the world through sunglasses, unaware that every single pair has different coloured lenses. One human wears blue, the other pink. So, one will see blue stuff, and everything to the other will be rose-tinted. Like most humans, these two wouldn’t be aware they see different colours. It’s true that some humans are aware of the situation, but even they usually have a hard time applying this knowledge to their lives.
As if that isn’t enough, it gets more complicated or irrational (but also useful from a hunter’s perspective) because there is an additional human feature that alters their reality even more, one that can potentially multiply the problem several times. We’re talking about the way humans process and organise information. In the next chapter, we explain why some small changes in meanings can catapult widely different and extreme conclusions that lead humans to develop kinds of Allergies to certain words and situations.
Lastly, remember that when you observe your prey doing anything (especially if it’s odd and unexpected), always ask, “What does it mean to this animal?”
CHAPTER 7 – THE EXTREMES – Human Drawers