PART III – BETWEEN REALITIES and DESIRES

Sidney Mazzi – 10 min read

Chapter 8 – THE BRAIN’S PUPPET – Emotions & Desires

Now we will explain how a human becomes his Brain’s Puppet.

Note: Because the ideas in this chapter apply to all the others, we have kept it brief. Keep this concept in mind while reading Part IV: What drives the animal.

THE MECHANISM

We’ll use two simple examples: one of an ancient sage and the other related to dog training.

Tell a human this story: The ancient sage

Imagine a human who, without question, follows all advice, suggestions and demands of a 200-year-old blind sage who is ignorant about technology and modern life. No matter what, at all times, the human obediently follows.

How does this example apply to humans? And how can you use it against them?

Any human would say it is wise to listen and learn from those who are more experienced. But they would also say that the example above makes no sense because this sage is out of touch and bound to give poor advice. So, it would make sense to listen but, at the same time, question any advice he provides.

Fair enough, no?

However, what happens in the example above is similar to what humans do when their brains instruct them, by way of emotions and desires, to do something. That’s right, the (ancient) brain, which developed several thousand years ago, and doesn’t understand modern life or technology, calls the shots. And, without question, humans follow orders. So, if the brain instructs to be scared, angry, or anything else, the ‘puppet’ obediently follows its ‘wise’ central system.

When the Messenger (or brain) detects a potentially threatening pattern, it switches to war mode. The human, though, might only be preparing for a class presentation, as explained in the Human Drawers chapter. For you, the hunter, this mismatch opens up opportunities.

So, emotions play a crucial role in how humans behave, and humans are hardly able to question them. And, of course, the brain’s signals (emotions) are not always right.

Check out this second example, and then we will jump to explanations.

Dog training:

Now, if you talk to humans about dog training, almost all will be familiar with the system of pleasure and pain, a simple method for reinforcing behaviour that the trainer wants and discouraging behaviour he doesn’t want. Humans know that to train a dog, they should give it a treat when it does something right and punish it when it does something wrong. As time goes by, the animal will learn to behave and do whatever the human wants. Simple.

For humans, this is obvious but would probably be a complete surprise (if it were possible to explain) to the dog. It’s safe to assume that the animal won’t understand the method being used to manipulate it.

However, should you confront a human with the fact that his brain has been training him, and at a much larger scale (24 hours a day since birth), he will probably enter into, what we call, “denial mode”.

Linking the ancient sage & dog training:

Humans struggle enormously to understand that what they feel is not necessarily right, wrong, or, in fact, anything at all. It is merely good or bad stuff that their central system uses to train and guide them. So, just like ‘Fido’, most humans have limited self-understanding — they are their Brain’s Puppets.

The previous examples show that the brain uses a human’s emotions to guide him to do what it believes is best — from avoiding pain, to seeking pleasure and feeling good about it.

The truth is that the human brain applies the same technique as a dog trainer; it reinforces good stuff with pleasure and the bad with pain. And, as one can expect, pain can be extremely persuasive. Ask a human if he would brush his teeth more often if failing to do so hurt.

The human brain, though, was designed thousands of years ago for animals clinging to survival in the jungle. Consequently, it still reinforces unnecessary behaviours — overeating sugar or fat, for example. Again, if a certain level of sugar started to hurt, humans would soon stop munching on sugary treats. You can bet on it.

Anyway, the essential thing to remember is that a human’s brain has been training him since birth, so most humans, like obedient dogs, are unaware of why they like some things and dislike others.

The same happens when humans are angry, nervous, scared, happy or in love, etc. These feelings are signals from the brain, and at times they are misleading due to the limitations already discussed. After all, keep in mind that the ancient sage isn’t always right — even though he has been around for many years.

Consequently, a human can consume extreme levels of fat or sugar, become irate with an inattentive waiter and fear losing things he doesn’t need — losing something feels like going to the Loser Drawer. Or, a human can even love an abusive partner because he feels familiar. The list goes on and on.

CLOSE TO TOTAL CONTROL

So, the ancient sage inside a human’s head is extremely powerful, don’t you agree? Check out this:

As you saw at the beginning of this book, the human brain (the Messenger) creates reality, with some editing, based on what it wants the Captain to see.

And, as if that’s not enough, the brain, training him like a puppet, also decides when to send a human pleasant or unpleasant messages.

That’s a lot of control. One could say it’s about time the Captain stopped trusting his Messenger so much and started asking questions.

DESIRES, TOO, CAN BE MISLEADING

Misleading desires are tricky for humans to understand. In the chapter Hidden Associations we explained that a human who expresses a desire to own a business, to become an entrepreneur, might actually long for freedom and recognition, not actually having a business.

Humans, most often, don’t really understand the real reasons for their desires. Like in the example above, when stalking your prey, it’s important to understand why it longs for freedom. Perhaps it has a terrible boss and feels pressured? Anyway, what matters is that if this human understood what he seeks is freedom and recognition, he could find plenty of easier ways to get those things than starting a business, which might not match his personality. Maybe the human should just change jobs, for example. But humans most often don’t fully understand their desires and just follow what their brains think they need.

Remember the obedient human (good student) who falls in love with the troubled student because of a desire to feel independent and mature? Of course, there could also be other reasons, but what matters is that humans don’t question or understand their desires. If the good student knew that, deep down, she sought independence and maturity, she would look at other ways of getting them.

Do you see how the human brain implants desires to get what it feels is needed? And how humans are often just puppets?

We address how the brain decides what it wants in Part IV: What drives the animal. For now, though, just keep in mind that humans rarely question assumptions that translate into desires and emotions — they feel too real.

The next case is a real situation that we have observed. We warn you that even for experienced hunters, it seems odd and, so, is hard to believe.

Disclaimer: Before you read on, we must acknowledge that, of course, there could be MANY OTHER REASONS for the human’s desire. For this example we explore ONLY ONE to show how ABSURD things can get.

The hidden & unbearable competition:

A human, who’d so far enjoyed a fairly successful career, moved to another city, and he had some excellent reasons to go — an amazing place, beautiful weather and beaches, etc. Later, though, after a period of observation, it became apparent to us that none of those reasons were true.

You see, in reality, the human’s desire to live far away from home originated from the fact that he couldn’t bear seeing his parents admire his more successful sister, even though he was unaware of the assumption his brain was making. If you were to ask him if he competes with his sister, he’d sincerely say, “What are you talking about? Of course not!”

You see, the human couldn’t realise that he COMPETES with his sister for his parents’ attention, love, or whatever you want to call it. Instead, he felt more comfortable living far from home — even though he got homesick. All the human knew was that he wanted to live far away. He recognised his desire but wasn’t entirely aware of his brain’s assumptions behind the scenes.

As weird as it sounds, the human’s sister hadn’t provoked his behaviour, nor did the ‘amazing’ new city. Instead, his brain’s assumptions (“I need to compete and win against my sister to gain my parents’ acceptance and love. I can’t stand losing and being in the Loser Drawer. If I can’t win, I’d better escape.”) created the desire to live away from home.

So, he didn’t fully understand the reasons for his desire to live far away from home and, when asked, he would often come up with the wrong explanation. By the way, yes, this sounds absurd, but it’s not uncommon.

Hidden competition happens more often on Earth than humans imagine — like between males of the same tribe (the mate and father of a female, for example) competing for dominance of the house/family. Often you can see hidden competition disguised in weird discussions and small actions.

Can you see how competition is far more prevalent in human behaviour than they can recognise and how it affects humans’ emotions and desires at a much deeper level than they know?

Humans are complicated animals, aren’t they? Their ridiculous Hidden Associations can create not just emotions, but also desires to instruct them to do what their brains believe they should. And, humans can make minor and major decisions about their careers, marriages, etc., while unaware of the real reasons why.

You see, like their emotions, humans usually don’t fully understand their desires either, and they, like puppets, just follow what their brain thinks they need. Best of all, things aren’t likely to change any time soon. We explain one of the reasons why next.

***

Tip: Carefully observe your human prey’s desire. “What does he long for? To live in another city? Change his job, even career?” Try to find the root. “Why does he desire that?” Determine if he is, in fact, ESCAPING from something, and if so, from what; this knowledge can be a weapon for manipulation. Your prey’s lack of self-understanding should make him easy to play with.

***

HUMANS’ LACK OF AN OUTSIDER’S POINT OF VIEW

Humans struggle to observe themselves from the sceptical perspective of an outsider.

A lion, for example, doesn’t understand or question its instincts and just follows them naturally. A human scientist, however, is able to observe the lion from an outsider’s point of view, knowing the animal’s behaviours.

So, humans can only question their instincts, beliefs, emotions, Hidden Associations, if they study themselves from the sceptical perspective of an outsider, like a creature from another planet. But they hardly ever do.

After all, can you imagine a human about to lose his temper and then asking, “Why am I nervous? What does this situation mean to me? Should I feel this way? What can I learn from my nervousness? What does this desire mean to me? What I am really looking for here? Am I trying to escape from something?”

Can you imagine a human questioning his emotions or desires this way? No, right?

It is beyond most humans’ capacity to study their emotions sceptically as if from outside their bodies.

Imagine a human who has never left his country. He would find it nearly impossible to question his culture, rituals (weddings, funerals, human greetings, etc.), expected social behaviours, social structures and religious beliefs.

For this human, given that he has known no other life, everything seems natural and as it should be. How could he possibly feel otherwise? Meanwhile, a foreigner would have a very different perspective and be able to evaluate these things from an outsider’s perspective.

So, humans would enjoy enormous benefits if it were possible to observe themselves through the eyes of a sceptical outsider, an alien that was able to question their beliefs, emotions, desires and reality.

For most humans, however, seeing their lives from the outside is almost impossible. Consequently, they can’t understand themselves or question their emotions and desires. So, as we’ve mentioned before, things aren’t likely to change any time soon

CONCLUSIONS

Emotions play a crucial role in how humans behave, and, like their Brain’s Puppets, they don’t usually question them. Of course, signals from the brain are not always correct, as you have seen on pretty much every page of this book.

Also, due to humans’ lack of an outsider’s point of view, it is almost impossible for them to realise that they should question their emotions. So, they become the obedient puppets of an ancient central system designed for the jungle.

What you have learned so far regarding humans’ emotions and desires will be crucial for understanding Part IV where we look at the things that drive humans: vanity, Expanded Self-Interest and fear.

So, over the following chapters, keep in mind that Earth’s smartest primate has such a poor understanding of its emotions and desires that it, for example, also completely misunderstands Self-Interest, which is rather interesting.

#wannabewise

Why not?

PART II – DIGGING DEEPER INTO YOUR PREY’S REALITY (2/2)

Sidney Mazzi – 13 min read

CHAPTER 7 – THE EXTREMES – Human Drawers

As if the Hidden Associations aren’t crazy enough, here’s another reality-distorting human feature: These creatures organise information within their heads into categories — like drawers.

Let’s start with an exaggerated example that summarises features related to both this chapter and the last:

Tell a human this story: The prisoner

Imagine a human in a squalid, overcrowded prison. There is no middle ground in this hell hole; either the human is a murderer, a rapist or a victim of those kinds of criminals. As you can expect, being categorised as a victim would be a nightmare. So, once confined to this prison, even innocent humans (those wrongly sentenced) see no alternative but to do whatever it takes to avoid being labelled as a victim — they become real criminals.

Do you get the picture so far?

Now, imagine that in this prison, any hint of weak or loser behaviour can lead to a prisoner being categorised as a victim by other inmates, which is almost equivalent to a death sentence. Yes, within seconds, a murderer to be feared can be reclassified as a victim to be preyed upon. So, it is natural to imagine that those criminals perceived as tough live in constant alert mode and feel unable to show any flaws. They must always be the criminal; any sign of weaknesses can be fatal.

How does this apply to humans? And how can you use it against them?

Any human would shudder at this nightmare situation. It’s not only the thought of incarceration that is chilling but the idea of being haunted day and night by fears of being perceived as a victim.

If you told a human that in their daily lives the vast majority of his kind live a similar nightmare, he wouldn’t understand.

How come?

Let’s start from the beginning.

Humans continuously categorise everything they see or pay attention to. You see, labelling things and situations helps them understand quickly what’s happening around them. But, for hunters, what’s most fascinating is that humans usually have too few categories, or Drawers, as we describe them, and so they must adapt. Yes, for many humans, their brain has minimal Drawers, so they label things based on what they have. What other choice is there? As expected, this feature causes extreme behaviour because things get stuck in the duality of 0 or 100: good or bad, black or white; there is no middle ground.

For example, if a human had just two Drawers (black and white) he would have no choice but to place any colour he sees in one of the two. So, anything that isn’t entirely white may be interpreted as black.

How does this all work in practical terms? Well, as mentioned, most humans have too few Drawers, so they label everything as either “winner” or “loser”. With only two large Drawers in their minds, these humans live in perpetual fear of being perceived by themselves, or others, as a loser.

HOW DOES LABELLING HAPPEN?

Let’s look at another exaggerated example that explains how labelling (putting things and situations into Drawers) works inside a human’s mind — without him even knowing.

Labelling happens before humans receive information, so the message is compromised by the time it reaches the Captain.

We warn you that the following example, which explains the process of putting information into Drawers, is rather long and complicated. However, it needs to be to ensure you understand fully that categorising happens without a human knowing.

Tell a human this story: The Drawers

Imagine that the messenger, on the previously described ancient ship, relays information to the captain in his cabin. However, this time, for greater security, he writes the information on paper and sends it to the captain through a line-of-transaction drawer, also known as a pass-through.

We know this sounds crazy, but you’ll get what we mean.

Now, on this ship, there are only two transaction drawers for the messenger to choose: one for good news (safe, winner, friends, etc.) and one for bad news (danger, loser, enemy, war, doomsday, etc.). Every time the messenger uses the bad-news drawer to inform the captain, a warning alarm for battle mode starts to ring — the ship is in danger and, therefore, vulnerable.

Note that the alarm rings BEFORE the captain reads the message.

As expected, the drawer in which the message is placed determines whether conditions are good or bad, whether the crew thinks the ship is in a winning or losing situation.

Now, let’s say that the messenger, based on all his mind’s past experiences and crazy associations, must decide whether news of an approaching ship should go into the good-news (safety) or bad-news (danger) drawer.

Interestingly, sometimes a small detail can determine which drawer the messenger sends the message through. If the messenger judges the approaching ship as a possible threat and chooses the bad-news drawer, even before the captain receives the message, the war-mode alarm will reverberate throughout the ship. The crew will become agitated and run to their positions. Sails and oars will be adjusted for battle and artillery (cannons and ammunition, etc.) prepared. All this will happen before the captain can even read the message. And, there is no middle ground; the ship will be full throttle into war mode.

How does this apply to humans? And how can you use it against them?

This example sounds complicated. But it shows that all decisions for which Drawer to place information into (how to label and store it in a human’s memory) are made before the Captain receives it. The message is biased, tainted. Before a human truly understands a situation, his heart pounds, or he becomes angry, and all these reactions are mostly beyond his control at the time. Should the human have developed more Drawers, he would have better control.

The example also shows that the Drawers are not easy to change. There is a structural problem to overcome. The captain would have to work with the messenger for months — even years — to construct new categories to receive better information.

In the same way, for example, it would be difficult for a human to create new Drawers overnight just by reading this book. It takes lots of time and effort to perceive reality through new Drawers.

WHEN HAVING FEW DRAWERS AFFECTS HUMANS’ PERCEIVED REALITY

In a bar, a waiter ignores a male human for a couple of minutes. Though unaware, deep inside the male thinks, “Do winners get ignored? No, they don’t. So, this waiter is implying that I am a loser!” Be aware, that for this human, “loser” is the only option for this situation. So, suddenly, a lack of attention becomes a challenge to his manhood, and the male creates an ugly scene. Yes, a few bad minutes have ruined a good night out. So, the male human (at the Messenger level) concludes that the waiter is calling him a loser and placing him in the Loser Drawer. And, he doesn’t even realise the real reason behind his angst. He simply blames and hates the waiter.

In the same way, a minor traffic incident can be seen as a threat to a human’s manhood and result in road rage — the guy who cut him off is labelling him a loser!

In a class presentation, students can present very different behaviours based on their interpretation of the occasion. Remember, as explained in the last chapter, whether a human feels he is loved conditionally or unconditionally can affect how he perceives a small mistake. So, a faux pas can have different meanings, which are also multiplied based on the number of Drawers a human has. You see, a class presentation can be an opportunity for a student to show his knowledge or, alternatively, a task to prove that he will be successful in life and justify his family’s love and acceptance.

You see, to a human with just two Drawers, success means he is a winner, and a small flaw makes him a loser, afraid, unlovable and a social pariah. One Drawer holds many meanings. Suddenly, a class presentation becomes far more because there is so much to lose should the human happen to jump from one Drawer to the other.

All conclusions humans come to can be based on tiny clues. It is easy to understand why some step on stage for a presentation with their heart pounding like a gladiator prepared to kill or be killed at the Coliseum; there is so much at stake.

Drawers causing career troubles:

A boss might request something that the employee sees as too basic and dumb but still involves twenty minutes of extra work. So, following the rationale of the previous examples, the employee may become extremely nervous, not because of the prospect of extra work, but of what the task means. If he is doing something dumb — and winners don’t do dumb things — he can’t be a winner. Based on a scrap of evidence, he feels like he has a large “L” glued to his forehead. The employee doesn’t fully understand why he is angry about something so small, but, regardless, he loses his temper.

Finally for this section, sometimes highly successful humans, like wealthy executives or world champion athletes, suffer a rare defeat which causes them to jump directly to the Loser Drawer — without ‘passing go’ — leaving them devastated. Like the prisoner in the squalid prison, a one-off failure can cause him to be reclassified from ‘hero to zero’ in an instant.

We know it is difficult to believe things can get so intense, so to illustrate our point further, here’s a situation we once witnessed on Earth. There was a world-champion female fighter, undefeated throughout her career, whom we will call Rosa Reyna. With such a glowing resume, you would think that nothing could rattle this fighter, right? Well, unbelievably, she considered committing suicide after the inevitable happened: She finally suffered a defeat. We repeat, after the first loss in her career — a record no other human had achieved at that time — she contemplated suicide.

So, it’s not only regular humans who are prone to extreme reactions, but also the crème de la crème — the elite. Rosa Reyna, after facing one ‘bump in the road’, felt so devastated that she considered killing herself. And it’s worth pointing out that despite her defeat, while she thought of suicide, she was still considered the greatest female fighter of all time.

Do you get the picture? Can you see how destructive having too few Drawers can be? Even for the most advanced human specimens, the effects can be devastating. Now, imagine regular humans, the ones you will usually hunt. How easy can it get?

There are other famous cases with executives and sportspeople. Of course, not all reach the point of wanting to blow out their brains, but you wouldn’t believe how often outwardly successful humans become disproportionately devastated by small setbacks.

By now you might be thinking, “This is too crazy. How can I tell whether my prey has a small number of drawers and if it does, how can I use the fact against it?”

Well, understand this: An overreaction usually indicates a small number of Drawers. You see, exaggerated emotions are often caused by extra meanings that develop because of the winner/loser way of analysing things — a small mistake meaning to a human that he is a loser. So, whenever a human overreacts to a situation, like in the Rosa Reyna example, it usually indicates that he has a poor grasp of reality and probably constantly fears becoming a loser. As a hunter, however, like with the other features, only after consistent observation must you reach conclusions about your prey — one or two isolated events aren’t enough.

We will continue with several more examples and stick with the Drawer metaphor because, to be able to manipulate humans, it is crucial that you understand this concept. You may feel that the message is becoming repetitive. However, we assure you that it needs to be.

Moving on…

Drawers causing trouble in human relationships:

A human believes he will end up in the Loser Drawer if his partner has an affair. So, like a frightened animal, he is crazily insecure and obsessed with every action his partner takes. As expected, he most often has no idea about the root of his insecurity. At the Captain’s level, he just knows he is obsessed with his partner.

Do you see how too few Drawers can cause problems before one even exists? If the human believes being cheated on makes him a loser, his relationship will be like a pressure cooker — even before his partner considers giving another suiter the ‘glad eye’. For this fragile creature, there’s much at stake, so he lives in constant fear of betrayal — even the faintest whiff of infidelity will cause him to question the future of the relationship. To this human, it’s as if an affair, or a marriage breakdown, is directly linked to a threat to his life. Can you grasp how this daily nightmare is similar to what the prisoner endures?

Here are two more examples:

One night, a male human can’t ‘get it up’ in bed (loses his erection). This failure to perform leads him directly to the Loser Drawer. Suddenly, his manhood is under threat, so he takes refuge in denial and blame: “It never happened! She’s at fault.”

A couple has a good relationship, but after a brief period of no sex, one of them begins to believe they are in trouble; their relationship is doomed.

By the way, of course, some of these conclusions could be true — no sex could indicate cracks in a relationship. However, it can also mean many other things: There could be an issue outside the relationship or, perhaps, no problem at all. What is interesting is that when a human feels the threat of heading to the Loser Drawer, he can hardly think straight. He can’t see the difference between it can be a problem and it is a problem, a small clue and a final statement.

Labelling and categorising affects humans all the time. Even a tardy response to a text message can be interpreted as a threat to a relationship or something equally ominous. Yes, humans continuously use small clues to reach far bigger conclusions. Life for them must be truly exhausting.

AS USUAL, THIS CONCEPT ALSO RUNS DEEPER…

Do you see how Drawers distort reality? Here’s an example of how they work in a more complex situation that isn’t easy to spot at first:

Sometimes, with a couple, the female may start to earn more money than the male, and the relationship jumps into a crisis. If you ask the male to explain the reasons for the fights and arguments, he may have clear, straightforward issues to complain about. But, only by digging deeper can you identify the real problem, which is his interpretation of the situation as “unbearable” and him labelling himself as a loser.

How come?

Well, imagine two big Drawers:

  1. Winner (successful, earn more money, dominance, etc.) — a big package.
  2. Loser (everything that doesn’t fit into the Winner Drawer) — another big package.

You see, on Earth, money and dominance are often placed in the same Drawer (Winner), and many male humans think they have to be dominant in a relationship. So, the rationale is that by earning less money than their partner, their dominance is threatened, which could send them to the Loser Drawer. Crazy, isn’t it?

And, most incredibly, these males often freak out and, despite having strong feelings for their partners, end their relationships just to escape the situation — without understanding why they feel so threatened.

Should a ‘threatened’ human explain his reasons for his relationship crisis, few would question him. Sure, some advanced creatures will realise that his partner’s superior earning power is probably the root of the problem. However, almost none will realise that the issue runs far deeper.

How so? Well, the real problem is the male human’s low number of Drawers, his interpretation of the world and poor understanding of life’s complexities. An experienced hunter would know that, for this male human, the correct remedy would be to change his definitions of money, dominance and a male’s role in a relationship, and create new Drawers in between Winner and Loser. Of course, this is easier said than done.

At all times, humans label things and situations; they confuse small indicators with final statements and overrate the consequences. It is a form of cognitive bias in which the brain allows a minuscule and specific trait to influence a human’s overall evaluation of another human, an object or a situation. While in prison, it is understandable that an inmate will be petrified of showing a flaw. In real life, it shouldn’t be that bad. But, it can be. Pay attention to overreactions or misunderstandings; they will provide valuable clues to explore later.


TO CONCLUDE

Some hunters confuse Drawers and Hidden Associations. To make things clear, the Drawers in a human’s mind multiply problems that begin with meanings (Hidden Associations).

When you observe your prey presenting abnormal behaviour, you should always ask:

  • What does it mean to this animal?
  • Can it differentiate between assumptions and facts?
  • How does it categorise a situation?
  • Does this animal have only a few Drawers, or does it have more?

From a hunter’s perspective, the fewer Drawers a human has the better, because fewer Drawers cause extreme behaviours. It can be tricky to conclude why a human behaves strangely at first, so you must pay close attention because not even humans are aware of why they react in certain ways.

Do you want to hear a joke? Despite not knowing themselves (how their mind works, their crazy Hidden Associations and Drawers), humans usually demand that their friends, family and partners understand them, and they get angry if they don’t. Haha!

The Art of Hunting Humans: A radical and confronting explanation of the human mind

#wannabewise

Why not?

Next…

PART III – BETWEEN REALITIES and DESIRES

Chapter 8 – THE BRAIN’S PUPPET – Emotions & Desires

PART II – DIGGING DEEPER INTO YOUR PREY’S REALITY (1/2)

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.

Virtual Reality Googles

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?”

#wannabewise

Why not?

Next…

PART II – DIGGING DEEPER INTO YOUR PREY’S REALITY (2/2)

CHAPTER 7 – THE EXTREMES – Human Drawers

PART I – WARM UP – THE ISOLATED CAPTAIN

Sidney Mazzi – 12 min read

To warm up we will discuss two very basic ideas. First we will quickly pass by the human communication system (Chapter 3) — which humans trust implicitly, and that’s a mistake. Secondly, we will expose how (and from where) humans perceive reality (Chapter 4). You will start to see the difference between seeing and projecting reality, which is crucial for understanding your prey.

Interestingly, this understanding will allow us, for example, to demonstrate why humans are condemned to repeat the same mistakes time and time again (Chapter 5).

Note again that the ideas we present here are basic, but crucial — a necessary foundation for you to build upon your understanding of the human animal. Having this solid foundation will pay off. Additionally, the whole thing will get more complicated as we move towards the end. Wait and see.

CHAPTER 3 – JUST CODES – A Broken Communication System

If we fully understand how inefficiently humans communicate with one another, we can use this knowledge against them.

To show you how important this is, during wars, one side will often target its opponent’s communication channels to isolate, divide and mislead. So, when hunting, understanding the intricacies of your prey’s communication is vital.

As you know, many of Earth’s animals communicate through sounds and gestures. Humans, however, use more complex sets of codes and symbols that seem efficient, which is the inaccurate perception we will explore.

Let’s first start with a weird metaphor that exaggerates the problem.

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Tell a human this story: Flags & smoke signals

Imagine an ancient sailing ship with a bank of oars, several cannons and hundreds of crew. To communicate with other vessels, the captain uses several flags to send coded messages (stating the country his ship comes from, its purpose, if it is a merchant or warship, etc.), which receivers then decipher using a codebook.

Or, picture villages that are miles apart communicating using smoke signals.

How does this apply to humans? And how can you use it against them?

Now, no human would expect recipients of the messages to understand all that is happening on the other end. How could they? And, humans know full well that using a set of codes, such as flags or smoke signals, to communicate would be extremely limiting. This is obvious. For some reason, though, humans struggle to understand that their everyday language, too, is inefficient; it is just a system of codes and symbols that are ripe for misinterpretation.

WORDS, FLAGS & SMOKE SIGNALS

ALL ARE JUST INEFFICIENT SETS OF CODES

Ask a human to speak a foreign language (that he knows quite well, but it is not his native tongue) to explain what’s going on within his head, and he will soon realise how cumbersome his words are for speaking his mind. It’s easy to see that he would feel limited in his capacity to express himself. And, he wouldn’t be at all surprised, either; after all, it’s not his first language! What humans don’t realise, though, is that even the words they grew up with are clumsy vehicles for self-expression — just a set of codes.

Language is merely a translation into words of the images inside a human’s head. However, because communicating in one’s ‘mother tongue’ feels natural, humans have a hard time accepting that words are vague facsimiles of what they want to express. Humans often think that they are explaining themselves completely because it feels natural — they are accustomed to the code.

Let’s be very clear. If a human states something simple, like “I want an apple,” obviously the other human will understand. What we are saying, though, is that the imagined apple could have a slightly different shape, colour and size to what the receiver understands. You see, apple is just a word representing a thought. The gaps between meaning and interpretation become bigger when humans discuss topics that are subjective, like hierarchy, power, money, relationships, expectations and success. It is the bigger gaps that we want to explore.

As if the inefficiency of human language isn’t enough, humans filter these codes and symbols depending on factors such as their past experiences, mood, insecurities and knowledge (but this is a topic for a later chapter). What matters for now is that misunderstandings can become much worse because, as you will see, in complex situations a code can have multiple meanings.

CONCLUSIONS (Chapter 3)

The codes humans use to communicate are highly inefficient, like old submarines that transmit Morse code to each other. Of course, one craft won’t be able to express everything that is happening inside its shell. So, in the same way, no human can express himself fully, even though they all like to think they can. So, when humans filter rough codes from other humans, it’s easy to understand why there is so much confusion on planet Earth.

For you, knowing this simple truth about the inefficiency of humans’ sets of codes is valuable. Wait and see. You can use it to your advantage in situations where misunderstandings take place, and even create misunderstanding for your benefit.

In the next chapter, we show how each animal creates its own reality. By exposing how humans perceive (and distort) the world around them, we will start to demonstrate how isolated within themselves they are and how their codes give away tips for how to manipulate them.

CHAPTER 4 – ALTERNATIVE REALITIES – Inside the Cabin (shorter version)

Let’s look at another example. And, yes, we’ll stick with the captain and ship examples — it’s essential that you have a solid and natural understanding of the separation between a human’s Captain (consciousness) and his Crew.

Tell a human this story: The Captain inside his Cabin

Again, imagine the ancient sailing ship described in the previous chapter. The captain, due to his importance and desire to avoid possible attacks, spends his days working in isolation inside his cabin.

Of course, the captain needs to know what’s happening on and around his ship — he’s in charge, after all — and, when necessary, he relies on messengers to keep him informed. And inform him they do; although, it’s important to understand the limitations of the messages they deliver.

So, here is the sequence: First the lookout sees something. Then, he explains his sighting to the messenger, who then explains to the captain. Simple. Now, consider this:

A lookout, perched high in the ship’s crow’s nest, spies an approaching vessel. Now, this lookout’s knowledge of ships is minimal — he’s young and has been a sailor for only a few weeks. Consequently, he can’t distinguish between an ancient frigate, caravel or galley — they all look the same to him.

If this young lookout knew more, he would probably notice features such as the number of sails, oars or cannons the ship has. But, to discern and describe those features, and the difference between the vessels, first requires a basic understanding of ships.

It’s not surprising that when the young lookout reports his sighting to a messenger below, he can’t explain the details very well — he hasn’t noticed them. The lookout makes ‘best guesses’ about the object he has seen based on what he knows and his past experiences.

When the messenger eventually reports news of the approaching ship to the captain, can you understand how compromised the message might be? In the same way, the description of the surroundings will also be compromised because the lookout will never be able to explain precisely the shape of the clouds, the waves, the wind. He will just state general weather conditions, without significant details, unless the captain really pushes him.

You see, the integrity of a message depends on what the lookout saw (or didn’t see) — the amount of information he can translate into words compared to the picture he sees — and his ability to explain his sighting to the messenger. And finally, how the messenger then explains it to the captain.

How does this apply to humans? And how can you use it against them?

What humans don’t realise is that when their central system (brain) receives information (from eyes and ears), like the lookout and messenger, it makes ‘best guesses’ about what the information means and what to send to their Captain.

As expected, not all best guesses or translations are the same. In fact, they are slightly different. So, what a human sees and notices is slightly different to the others around him. This is because what a human sees, hears or smells isn’t reality; instead, it is a hugely filtered best guess of what is real. Consequently, every human being’s interpretation of reality is different. It is interpreted and replayed inside his head, like a hallucination. This may all sound crazy, but you will get what we mean. You will also learn how different points of view change how you observe human behaviour.

Virtual Reality Googles

For example, if a human knows about fashion, he will notice subtle nuances between items of dress — the material, the thread — that others will not — ‘non-followers of fashion’ will literally see no differences between the clothes. Each human’s brain projects different images inside his head. The same applies to those knowledgeable in pretty much anything, like types of cars and houses. As weird as it sounds, images, sounds or tastes don’t reach the Captain as you might think. He literally sees (or hallucinates) a standard item of clothing without the details. If, however, you ask him to pay attention and check it out again while you explain the differences, details will emerge that he will swear were not there before. The same thing happens with new car designs; one human will see the latest trend in shape, and the other will be oblivious to it unless it is pointed out and explained. It is not just attention differences; every human’s Captain sees different images.

The same applies to taste. Take beer (or wine, or even tea) for example. Humans will each experience diverse sensations, depending on how much they know and care about beer. Just like the captain must train his lookout and messenger to differentiate types of ships, so they can provide more accurate information, humans also must undergo a lengthy training process to sharpen their sensitivity to develop the ability to differentiate between types of beer. So, as mentioned before, attention plays a significant role here, but it is not just that. The ability of humans to distinguish between types of beer, dresses or cars will vary between them, and if a human’s Lookout doesn’t translate accurately, he literally sees just a beer, or a dress or, like in the story above, a ship. His brain (Messenger) decodes the message in a standard, rudimentary way.

So, two humans in the same room seeing and tasting the same things actually have different experiences, depending on their knowledge, culture and past — as well as some other stuff. Each human lives in a different reality because their brain translates information from their senses differently. Of course, this feature doesn’t make much difference in simple situations, like two humans seeing the same apple. However, it gets interesting when things become complicated — and they always do. As you will see in Part II, these differences can expand in unbelievable ways, and you can use them while in pursuit of your prey.

A human hears a song in an unfamiliar language. If he learns the lyrics, next time he listens, the music will affect him differently. The first time will be a blur; second time around, though, the human will listen to the words — the music will seem different. It is like a musician who hears songs differently to non-musical humans. In his mind, he can clearly separate the sound of each instrument or notice mistakes made by performers. So, a musician and a non-musician will hear different music. It is not just attention, but their brains translate the music differently. In effect, what they are listening to is different.

Note: The idea is not (or should not be) new to humans. Take touch for example: Humans are well aware that those who are blind can usually detect tactile information faster and in more detail than seeing humans because the brain of a blind human is better trained to collect information from touch. However, very few humans realise that the same beer he and his allies drink together tastes different to each of them.

A trained eye matters:

Interestingly, how well-trained a human’s brain is at seeing something alters how they see it.

Here’s a simple example: Humans from one part of the world generally struggle to differentiate between humans from another. To illustrate this point, humans from a place on Earth called Europe may be unable to distinguish between two dark-haired humans from Asia (another place on Earth) who generally feature facial characteristics unique to Asians. Of course, there are exceptions. But, let’s say that, in general, a brain from Europe is likely to be less adept at noticing details in an Asian face than a brain raised in Asia. And, it works both ways: Many Asians find it tough differentiating between two blonde-haired Europeans. Of course, this example is also valid in many other parts of the world and situations.

Remember, every day a human is exposed to an avalanche of information, and only a fraction will reach his awareness (the Captain). This is because his ‘capable’ Messenger has the Captain all figured out and removes what he thinks is irrelevant. Believe it or not, humans don’t realise that this filtering takes place, which is unfortunate for them and lucky for you. They are like a naive ship’s captain who believes that the lookout and the messenger are telling him everything (every detail) that is happening around the ship.

TAKEAWAYS FROM THIS CHAPTER

Everything happens inside out, like an in-built projector. If you understand the difference between seeing and projecting the stuff around you, you should find this book, and humans, easy to understand.

The misunderstandings about reality that we have mentioned seem small, but, as you will see, they add up.

CHAPTER 5 – THE ISOLATED CAPTAIN – First tips (shorter version)

The first practical application

REPETITION

With the Captain-in-the-cabin mindset, it is easy to understand why humans are usually condemned, fated — cursed — to repeat the same mistakes endlessly.

When you begin observing and hunting humans, you will notice that they often face the same problems time and time again. If a human has an angry boss, he will quit his job and find another angry boss. If colleagues bully him, he will be bullied wherever he works. The same dysfunctional pattern of behaviour also occurs with humans who are often let down by friends or move from one ‘batshit crazy’ partner to another. Jealous humans, too, always seem to find something to be envious of. The same applies to paranoid humans or those who continually get into arguments and can’t explain why.

What makes humans so dysfunctional?

From what we have presented until now, a human’s filtered reality (his ability to notice certain things and his selective attention) is a culprit.

First – Alternative Reality: Every individual human being will tend to pay attention to things — objects and situations — that others may not be aware of or care about. Also, based on each human’s background and experience, they can notice different things and details while in the same situation. So, as previously said, humans see reality differently. Remember, reality is complex, so there is always something happening around humans that allow them to reach the conclusions that they desire. No matter what the situation, humans can always find some reason to be anxious, paranoid or jealous, etc. The world really is unique for each of these creatures. Dare we say, humans see what they look for and understanding this fact will help you recognise the problems they face.

There are two other reasons for the problems humans grapple with. Let’s look at them now.

Secondly – Desire: Each human has a pattern of desire, so he is attracted to and finds pleasure in the same things. Without noticing, humans usually chase the same type of humans over and over again. So, it’s often their desire — what they chase — that creates the reoccurring problems humans complain about. It is like a human with a partner that ignores him. He always complains about being “invisible”, but it’s an inattentive partner he chased in the first place. In this case, should the partner begin paying him more attention, the human will lose interest and start looking for a new, less attentive mate. And, the problem continues.

Thirdly – Behaviour: Without noticing, humans also create problems by the way they behave. For example, some highly competitive humans take an aggressive approach to others. Consequently, they appear confrontational, even when they don’t mean to be. Why? Well, it’s their belligerent body language, pronunciation of words and several other signals they can’t help but project. Then, from time to time, they meet others who act the same, and, naturally, these aggressive humans end up in conflict. Many have no idea that they are part of the problem, that they created the fight, and so they blame their opponent.

Strangely, for the cases above, these patterns are habitual, and humans don’t notice the cause. For human beings, life is a mystery. They are like creatures with shit on their foreheads that don’t understand why flies follow them, no matter how many they swat away. Humans can’t comprehend that, most often, they are the architect of their problems. And, like we said, the same happens with humans who are anxious, jealous or paranoid.

#wannabewise

Why not?

Next…

PART II – DIGGING DEEPER INTO YOUR PREY’S REALITY (1/2)

An Ultimate Guide for the XXI Century Shallow Man — 15 commandments of stupidity

A Politically incorrect guide for understanding how we got here.

Sidney Mazzi – 5 min read

The following commandments will help you understand what guides any human born as a mediocre, ignorant baby during the extraordinary journey of becoming a mediocre and ignorant adult — a Shallow Man.

1: Communication

  • If someone misunderstands what I mean, it shall be their fault.
  • If I misunderstand someone, it shall also be their fault.

I will not ‘suffer fools.’

2: Dealing with conflicting opinions

  • I will ignore all conflicting information.
  • I will avoid listening to views that clash with mine. People who question my opinion are just trying to confuse me.

If I can’t follow this rule, I shall instead refer to commandment #3.

3Discussions: The hidden battle that only I can see

3 — Discussions: Soldier / Gladiator

Discussions shall provide an opportunity to show who is in control, who wins. ‘Losing’ a debate is for weak people. To me, every conversation is a battle that I must win. And, best of all, I get better at winning every time.

4: Anger and nervousness

I shall make the most of both feelings to increase my rationality — they show that I am in control. I shall use anger and nervousness as often as I can and be proud of doing so.

5: Tone of voice

Whenever someone challenges me, I shall raise my voice because the louder I speak, the more convincing my argument seems.

6: Facts are for pussies!

When it comes to topics like vaccination, the shape of the Earth — even Darwin’s theory of evolution — to me, conspiracy theories and mystical beliefs shall make more sense than reason and facts. They also make me feel more intelligent than other people, and I like that.

I shall trust headlines from newspapers, or any other source, that match my point of view, and I shall refer to them to prove that I’m right.

7: Uncertainty is a disease

Ask me anything about relationships, work — even the meaning of life — I’ve got it sorted. I shall always have the answer, and there is no room for doubt. There is no middle ground; either someone agrees with me 100%, or they are part of the problem. And, of course, if they persist with their point of view, I won’t try to explain my opinion better; instead, I shall repeat the same explanation more loudly than before (commandment #5) and use labels such as “Communist” or “Fascist.”

8: Never underestimate the power of blame

To make me feel better about my problems, there is always someone or something to blame: enemies, friends, parents, partners, co-workers — even entire ethnic groups.

9: Denial is a wild card to use when there are no other options

No matter the situation, how absurd or wrong I am, I can ALWAYS use denial.

Whenever I don’t like the consequences, I shall deny the cause.

10: One Marshmallow — Always! (short term vs long term)

Long-term rewards are a fairy tale. I want them now! Regardless of whether I lean to the left or right of politics, I shall use short-term rewards in many situations: when discussing immigration, the minimum wage, employment law, price regulation ….

Later, when facing the long-term consequences, I shall use commandments #8 or #9.

11: Politics

Regardless of whether I sit to the left or right of politics:

1) People on ‘the other side’ are stupid and traitors.

2) Anyone from the other side who says or does something stupid should be treated as a general representative of their tribe and beliefs.

3) Anyone from ‘my side’ who says or does something stupid:

a. did so because they were provoked

b. is an isolated case

c. is a victim of ‘fake news.’

12: Religion

On the topic of what happens after death, I shall fall into one of two groups:

1) If I’m religious: “I believe that all other religions have ridiculous stories/explanations and are for weak people who can’t see the truth.” Followed by: “My religion makes perfect sense. I can’t see why anyone would challenge it.”

2) If I’m non-religious: “I believe that all religions have ridiculous stories/explanations and are for weak people who can’t see the truth.” Followed by: “All religious people think that someone will save them. They need this certainty and to believe in magical stuff. ‘God botherers’ think they are 100% sure of what happens after death. I am not like them; I am 100% sure that nothing happens after we die.”

13: Psychology

Anything with the word consciousness or the expression emotional intelligence is for losers.

I believe that psychology is the only science that has failed to come up with anything useful in the past 100 years. And no, I haven’t read anything about psychology to challenge this belief. Why should I?

100 Years!

14: Books

I don’t read books. Period. Anything with more than 140 characters is not well summarised. Heck, if the issue is complex, send out two Tweets, instead of one. And if the story were any good, surely there would be a movie about it.

15: Repetition

My problems repeat because of anything BUT my stupidity and stubbornness.

#wannabewise

Why not?

Next…

PART I – WARM UP – THE ISOLATED CAPTAIN

Chasing Greatness IV – The key detail that even Elon Musk missed

First, we need to become “the tribe of the wise”

Sidney Mazzi – 4 min read

wannabeswise logo: World’s Holy Grail + Diamond of Wisdom

Elon Musk once asked himself the following question: “What are some of the problems that are likely to most affect the future of humanity?”

And his answer was, “I think the biggest terrestrial problem we’ve got is sustainable energy… and then, the other one being the extension of life beyond Earth to make life multi-planetary.” With that in mind, he built SpaceX, Tesla and Solar City.

Well, his answer is amazing and his capacity to make things happen enormous. Of that there is no doubt. However, I believe that there is a deeper problem facing humanity.

You see, just like a gun can kill or protect, the problem is that regardless of the technologies we develop, if our people lack wisdom – especially our leaders – they can always be used for the wrong purposes.

So, in my view, we need to become a tribe of wise people. We need to tackle our pride and our education system, etc. We must take on the root of all problems: IGNORANCE. Not knowing how our minds work and lacking self-observation skills and knowledge make us admire the wrong people — people who end up running our companies and countries. In the current state of affairs, with the lust for power and lack of self-knowledge demonstrated by our leaders, no technological developments will help.

However, if we start admiring the right things, the situation will slowly change. We, as citizens of the world, need to become wiser.

Now, I am far from being as intelligent as Elon Musk. And what I’m talking about isn’t about me or him anyway. I believe that there is a problem that we must tackle, and I am looking for people who can help with this message, this vision.

I can’t change the world alone; let’s do this together. My book and this blog are just the first steps, and I am looking for people who can help me spread the message to more people, faster. Let’s make aspiring to be wise a new normal and take it mainstream

I must say that I am proud of my book, which I believe it is my greatest contribution (so far) to this cause. With all honesty, though, I am well aware that only a tiny portion of society will read it — the book requires a lot of effort, intelligence and self-reflection from the reader to be able to fully apply it in their lives. That’s not enough. To become ‘the tribe of the wise,’ we need more and we need it faster. Together, we can create something (a movement? A course? A game? A movie? Anything — whatever works) that can help us create the pride that we need to start the change.

If you think this is a challenging goal, think about Elon Musk’s quote below.

“You need things like that [being a multi-planetary species] to be glad to wake up in the morning. Life can’t be just about solving problems. There have to be things that are exciting and inspiring that make you glad to be alive.” — Elon Musk

I wonder what the world would be like if we had a few Elon Musk’s tackling the problem of the world’s pride, and its education system? I think we’d probably get to Mars faster!

Call to actions:

If you are excited or inspired by my goal:

Chain of people

Spread the word:

Do you like the idea, but don’t have the time to help? That’s fine! If you simply share these articles with your family and friends and encourage them to read (this second step is important), you will be helping a lot. After all, whether or not this idea spreads will depend on you, the reader. There is only so much I can do.

Subscribe because I have a plan!

I will almost never email you. But wait? Why should you subscribe? Hear me out. I have a plan. I am not a ‘social media guy,’ but I’ve been reading about how to spread a message. Here is the plan: Once I gather enough subscribers, I can publish the Chasing Greatness I – The Return of the forgotten Virtue article on medium.com – a great content platform for articles with millions of readers – and encourage wannabewise subscribers to like the post. So what? I’ve heard that if we get a few hundred likes within a day, the article might start trending and then medium.com will push it out to their readers. It is all about being noticed by the platform’s content recommendation. If we do it right, the article (and the idea) will be read by thousands of people in a few days. How does that sound? Please subscribe and stay in stand-by. I am not sure when I will contact you. Hopefully very soon. It depends more on you than me now. Spread the word.

Come join the movement and help change the world for the better! We need to become “the tribe of the wise”. Help us spread the message. Please subscribe and stay in stand-by.

Message me:

If you also believe you can help (or that you simply would like to participate in this change), please flick me a message here.

#wannabewise

Next…

A stress-busting article to help you relax:

An Ultimate Guide for the XXI Century Shallow Man — 15 commandments of stupidity – A Politically incorrect guide for understanding how we got here. – 5 min read

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is facts-are-for-pussies.jpeg

#wannabewise

Chasing Greatness III – Reasons for my approach

Some of you won’t like this article, but I can’t please everyone and remain authentic

Sidney Mazzi – 5 min read

Professionals of the mind (psychologists, psychoanalysts, psychiatrists, and neuroscientists) have made great discoveries, and their findings explain a lot about our minds. However, I believe that they failed miserably as an inspiring brand. What do I mean? Well, they fail to interest the average ‘Joe.’ In fact, many of our great leaders don’t read books by professionals of the mind because they don’t recognise the value of their findings. I mean, they know of one or two books, but they hardly apply them to their daily lives.

Think about it.

How much do everyday people really know about psychology? Then, consider all the advances of the past decades, how much our lives have changed — all the new technologies (the internet, electric cars, artificial intelligence, cell phones and the advances in medicine, etc.) that now permeate our everyday lives, even when we don’t notice them.

Now, think about human psychology. How much of what mankind has discovered do you apply to your daily life? Do you really think that there is nothing useful? Nothing that you could take advantage of? Is it just a bunch of emotional intelligence BS designed for weak people? Really?!

Because I believe that most people are oblivious to the workings of the human mind (even though there have been thousands of books written on the subject), I wrote The Art of Hunting Humans, a radical explanation of the human mind. I have never sought exposure. However, never the less, I exposed myself in my book, as well as my series of articles, because the world has gone crazy, and I decided to do my part and change things.

But why did I write an inspiring article like Chasing Greatness I, and also a guide to hunting humans?

First of all, my book is not a real guide. It is just a fun way to explain the mind, like it was written by an alien observing us. But if you want a list of reasons for my controversial book’s title and approach, I will give you five.

MY reasons (i.e. MY opinion)

  1. For me, the books out there are terrible.
  2. Distance! I didn’t want my book to be compared to the other books.
  3. Lack of an outsider’s perspective.
  4. Catchy title! Yes! controversy can be good! Let’s shake things up! Also, it needed to be fun!
  5. Give me the bloody truth! Designed to challenge, rather than comfort.

I didn’t want this article to be too long. So, if you want, you can read the reasons in more detail click here.

Not enough reasons for you? How about one more?

Bonus – Reason 6:

Albert Einstein is widely credited with saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”

Well, if you believe that the world is getting wiser, then maybe I am wrong. I don’t think so, though. Hence, I thought we should try a different and unconventional approach to talk about wisdom and self-knowledge.

Only time will tell if I am right or wrong. At least I am trying my best.

The Art of Hunting John, Mary, Paul, Sidney…
Observe yourself.
You are the hunter.
You are your prey.

A guide to hunting humans is too much for you?

No problem at all!

(book recommendations)

So, you want to learn about the human mind, but you don’t like my approach?

ALL GOOD! You can always go for the works of famous psychoanalysts such as Freud or Lacan, or you can try all the textbooks about cognitive behavioural psychology and neuroscience. There are lots of them out there! They are not fun to read, but if you read lots of them and put all the information together, they will be, indeed, useful. Tip: Don’t stick to one field of science: psychology, psychoanalysis and neuroscience are all important.

No, I am not going to try to convince you to read my book at all. But I would suggest that you start with history, politics, marketing or even philosophy. I believe you can learn a lot about the human mind without having to read boring technical books. Watch a few YouTube summaries about psychology and neuroscience, for example.

Wait!

Did you say history, politics and marketing?

Yep, history of humanity, countries, the old empires, how life was in the dark ages, etc. Read about different cultures, beliefs, religions, rituals. Go deep to understand how society started, or how different societies are and were organised. For example, you can really learn how the east and west think in profoundly different ways. It is very interesting and will give you a good general perspective. For history, you can start with Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. It is maybe the best book ever written.

You can even find some interesting documentaries on YouTube… there are great ones about life during the middle ages.

Or read about politics. A book that teaches the basics about power and politics – including how politicians trick you – is The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli. No, it is not just for evil people. It has different uses. For example, Good people can use it to understand how those who lead us think and act. You will be able to start spotting their tricks and gain a good understand regarding how power works. After all, whether you like it or not, the history of humans is the history of the struggle for power.

Or go for marketing techniques. They are very interesting! Here you can read almost any book on the subject – yep, techniques to make people buy stuff. Even a simple book like Ca$hvertising will teach you a lot about how marketers trick you. And, obviously, if you are intelligent enough, you can use it as a source of knowledge (not just to make people buy stuff). You can learn, for example, how marketers play with your insecurities and desires.

If you want to start with philosophy, I would encourage you to start with books about Stoicism. They are very interesting, too. But if you like a mix of fiction and learning, then you can start with Sophie’s World, a 1991 novel by Jostein Gaarder. In this book you will get a nicer perspective on life, learn about philosophy and regain the ability of wonder like when you were a kid. By the way, this is the first real book I intend to read to my son when he is 12-14 years old. It is amazing!

You can learn a lot about humans from these books — much more about the human mind than from a self-help book that spends hundreds pages teaching you that you should have the right mindset in life (which basically means that you should learn from your mistakes and failures, so you can improve and grow. If that’s news to you. Go for it. Enjoy!).

#wannabewise

Chasing Greatness IV (cont.) – Reasons – Extended

Sidney Mazzi – 4 min read

1. For me, the books out there are terrible.

First of all, maybe it is just me, but anything that mentions emotional intelligence puts me off. The term is so overused that it has kind of lost its meaning. So, when I hear it, I immediately lose interest. I immediately think, “Oh God, here we go again… another politically correct and boring talk with nothing inside.” On top of that, lots of people who talk about emotional intelligence are NOT emotionally intelligent at all. So…

With this disclaimer done, let’s go for the specifics:

The problem is that most books about psychology are either extremely boring, too damn technical, or in the best cases, just a bunch of curiosities that you will forget right after reading them.

  • i. Self-help books that claim to explain the mind are almost always USELESS. I’ve read lots of them, and almost all were a waste of time. Even the most popular ones use hundreds of pages for a simple, obvious lesson. Often they comprise 300 pages that repeat the same thing over and over… anyway.
  • ii. On the other side of the spectrum, more often than not, psychology books overcomplicate stuff and use extremely technical language. It’s like the authors just want to appear smart, rather than help others.
  • iii. How about books on neuroscience? Some are interesting, but they are very limited. They show curiosities about your brain, but they’re hardly life changing. Their piece of the puzzle is too limited.

Other books often are too specific:

For me, apart from one or two examples, you can get 95% of the information contained in any self-help book by watching the 15-min summary on YouTube. So, why bother reading the book?

I wanted a book that would provide all the basic information in one place. A book that could serve as a guide and that I could turn to from time to time. Because many curiosities about the mind you kind of know, but it is only when you put them all together that things make sense. For that reason, I designed a book that should be read at least twice because it is packaged with information.

2. Distance! I didn’t want my book to be compared to all those others I’ve mentioned.

Because, in my opinion, these books are so terrible or limited, I don’t want to see mine on a shelf with them. I wanted an approach to psychology that would be highly original — a work that defied easy categorization (is it fiction? Satire? Self-help? A book about psychology? All of the above?), even at the potential detriment to marketability.

Sadly, I believe that the broader use of psychology is done by marketers. They are the ones who really know how to trick your mind into buying something. Meanwhile, psychologists reach a tiny percentage of the population (via treatment or their interest in the field of study). Just a fraction of the population. It’s disaster.

Don’t get me wrong. Psychologists do a great job treating the people they help, but overall, as a science, the findings in psychology don’t reach the vast majority of the population.

A fresh approach was required. So, I packaged The Art of Hunting Humans in a radically different way. While writing this book, my goal was to appeal to a new market: people generally disinterested in books related to psychology. Sceptical people like me (or like I was just a few years ago).

3. Lack of an outsider’s perspective.

As I explained in the Diamond of Wisdom article, people struggle to observe themselves from the sceptical perspective of an outsider.

My book was designed to allow you to distance yourself from a problem so that you can understand its magnitude and the challenges ahead.

4. Catchy title! Yes! controversy can be good! Let’s shake things up!

I am almost always in a good mood, and I often make jokes about myself. Among my friends, I am very funny, sarcastic, ironical — stuff like that. So, I like a catchy title, satire, weird metaphors. That’s just me. Also, my book needed to be controversial, so people would talk about it. It is not easy to get people’s attention these days.

Also, it needed to be fun:

I use satire and weird metaphors to explain lots of things in life (a ship, a prisoner, dungeons…). So, why not pretend to write a guide for hunting humans? For me, it sounded like an interesting approach.

5. Give me the bloody truth! Designed to challenge, rather than comfort.

Maybe it is just me, but I am always more interested in constructive criticism than praise. I have lots of motivation and self-confidence inside me, and I don’t really need anyone to lift me up. So, I wanted something less inspiring and motivational and more focused on exploring the problems we all face. I want the truth. Yes! Point out the finger! It’s fine! That’s how we solve problems and build urgency for change.

Here’s a sentence from The Art of Hunting Humans: My book is An investigative tool for those brave enough to face their inner darkness.

That is my style, but I am well aware that not everybody likes it…. sad it may be, but the quote below is true for most people, so I know that my book won’t be read by many:

“The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism” — Norman Vincent Peale.

If that quote is true for you, don’t even start reading my book. However, I can also say don’t give up just yet. Later in this article I will recommend a few other books for you to read.

Before you go.

Next…

Chasing Greatness IV – The key detail that even Elon Musk missed

#wannabewise

Chasing Greatness II – The Diamond of Wisdom

A symbol (and a tool) to guide your journey

Sidney Mazzi – 8 min read

Diamond of Wisdom

If you are reading this article, you probably have read Chasing Greatness I – The Return of the Forgotten Virtue. And you might think the idea of dreaming to be ‘wise’ could be good for you.  

My journey has been more difficult than it should have been, so this article focuses on helping you avoid my mistakes. After all, I am far from a super-wise person, but I’ve been on this journey for more than a decade, so I have one or two tips to share.

You see, the first five to seven years into my journey weren’t that good.What can I say? I didn’t even know where to start, what to read, how difficult it would be, where to focus, etc.

Anyway, I made lots of mistakes that I could have avoided.

So, unfortunately, this article will not be as inspirational as the first. Instead, it is more about setting expectations and planning (which can be seen as less glamorous, but is super necessary).

Let’s start.

It’s a complex journey, so you need 4 things:

  1. Knowledge
  2. An outsider’s perspective
  3. The right dream
  4. Time

Number 1: Knowledge

This is tricky, and it focusses on all of the other following qualities. Here you will learn how humans behave and understand different cultures, etc. But the key is to understand the human mind, which is the main thing I intend to help you with.

Note:

Even if you have a PhD in engineering, if you haven’t studied topics such as psychology or the history of a certain country, you are pretty much starting from zero.

I often call it being ‘well-trained’ vs being ‘well-educated.’ Very different things. You see, there is a HUGE difference between being

  • a well-trained person (like a doctor, an engineer or an investor) who has trained to perform certain tasks.
  • a well-educated person (which is closer to being a wise person) who knows about psychology, history, philosophy and the economy, etc. A well-educated person is a complete citizen who understands the world.

Using this definition, most people you know are likely to be well-trained, not well-educated.

Anyway, quality number 1 takes lots of explaining. Let’s look at the others:

Number 2: An Outsider’s Perspective

This will help you with Knowledge. I mentioned it briefly in my previous article, but it is worth exploring more:

The human mind is one of the most complex puzzles to solve and, in my view, if you don’t get extra help from an outsider’s perspective, the chances of fully understanding the size of the problem you are about to deal with are low. You’ve been a human for so long that it is almost impossible to detach yourself from a human perspective, and this will hinder your development.

It might sound crazy, but you will soon understand the importance of extreme self-distancing when it comes to self-reflection.

A couple of examples:

(1) Imagine a person who has never left his country. He would find it nearly impossible to question his culture, rituals (weddings, funerals, human greetings, etc.), expected social behaviours, social structures and religious beliefs.

For this person, given that he has known no other life, everything seems natural and as it should be. How could he possibly feel otherwise? Meanwhile, a foreigner would have a very different point of view and be able to evaluate these things from an outsider’s perspective.

(2) Here’s another way of putting it: A lion, doesn’t understand or question its instincts; it just follows them naturally. A scientist, however, is able to observe the lion from an outsider’s point of view, knowing the animal’s behaviours.

So, humans can only question their instincts, beliefs, emotions and assumptions if they study themselves from the sceptical perspective of an outsider, like a creature from another planet.

To better understand the world and make better decisions, the importance of perspective is crucial. Even if you are highly capable of understanding others from their points of view, you will need to take things to a whole new level to truly understand the human mind.

So, the second bullet point is the ability to observe yourself and the world from the pragmatic and sceptical point of view of a third person — to have a completely different perspective on life, ideally like that of a non-human entity.

Number 3: The Right Goal

The right goal is important because, for example, if someone does not intend to be an ethical investor, well, he can have all the knowledge and the time to prepare, but without the right goal, we know the outcome will not be good. Do you see? It starts with the person’s intentions. So, in this case, in my view, the investor would have the wrong goal from the beginning.

Are you going to learn to improve yourself or to work against other people — to manipulate them? It is all about having the right goal.

Given that you are reading my Chasing Greatness series of articles, you probably already have the right goal of trying to be wise. So, I don’t think we need to spend any more time here.

Number 4: Time to practice

You can’t rush things too much (like I did). Just like it takes time to build your muscles at the gym, it will take time to understand the human mind. And understanding is just the beginning. Being able to apply it when you are nervous or under pressure is another. After all, you will unlikely have the luxury of applying your knowledge of the human mind while meditating on top of a mountain. Wouldn’t that be nice? In reality, you will be working, taking care of your family, etc. Daily worries and pressures won’t suddenly stop for you to pursue your journey.

We are going to fix the aeroplane while it is flying.

So, the first important thing you need to learn for number 4 is that this famous quote is NOT true for you:

“Absence of occupation is not rest; a mind quite vacant is a mind distressed” — William Cowper.

In Brazil, where I come from, this quote is often said as “The empty mind is the devil’s workshop” (I am not sure if it is as popular in English).

Anyway, what matters for you is that the idea that you must be busy all the time is completely wrong. You will need lots of time dedicated to introspection and self-reflection. No matter how busy you are. It is about priorities. You must find time during your daily/weekly routines to have an idle mind in order to pay attention to your emotions, to look inwards, to reflect on your actions and so on. It won’t be easy; after all, we live in a world where people can’t sit down on the toilet for a few minutes without their phones. So, taking time to “do nothing” and observe yourself might even spark anxiety attacks.

Yes, it is true that at the beginning, looking inwards can be quite unsettling — even disturbing — but doing so will pay off, and it’s the only way anyway. Looking inwards is far better than never listening to your inner longings.

So, slowly you will realise that the following quote is more accurate:

“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone” — Blaise Pascal.

The journey will take a long time. You must embrace a no-shortcut mentality. As times passes by and you get better, you will learn to enjoy exploring your mind and challenging your assumptions and become increasingly proud of your decision to strive to be wise. But just like the first days at the gym will make your muscles ache, looking inwards will be a strain if you’ve never done it before.

Enjoy your journey…

So, those are the only four things to keep in mind, and the diamond diagram above summarises them. No, this is not rocket science, but they are, indeed, useful.

The good news is that numbers 3 and 4 only depend on you. And there is a pretty good chance that you have number 3 (The Right Dream) sorted, which is the most important step anyway.

The bad news is that you can’t stop practicing. You see, if you stop going to the gym, we all know that your hard-earned muscles will shrink. Well, the same principle applies to your ability to work with your mind and become wise if you stop putting in the work. Yes, as far as I am aware, the road to wisdom is a never-ending journey. But at least it’s fun.

Lastly, don’t forget that becoming wise is like turning your inner self into a beautiful diamond — a precious stone that isn’t formed overnight, no matter how much pressure you apply.

Before you leave…

For the next articles, I will use excerpts from my book. I am well aware that, with a confronting title (like my book’s), they will not be for everyone. So, you might want to sign off here.

You see, by PRETENDING to write a guide for hunting humans, I explain the mind in a unique way (tackling Knowledge and The Outsiders Perspective together). In case you are curious, here are the reasons for my controversial approach (5-min read). But I am not here to convince you that you must read my book — there are thousands of books in the world that explain how the mind works.

(book recommendations)

My message is that the world needs more people to learn about how the human mind works. If I am able to convince you, I have succeeded. The need for wise people in the world is immense. My dream is that one day, a key element of the world’s Ideal Self will be wisdom. This, of course, won’t happen just by everybody reading my book. Read whatever you want, as long as it’s valuable.

In case you’ve chosen not to read my following articles (check out my book recommendations), I wish you the best with all my heart. Take one diamond, and good luck in your journey The world needs you to be wise. Your family needs you to be wise. You need you to be wise.

Finally, during your journey, when real life hit you in the face, and you’re feeling under pressure, remember that pressure and time makes diamonds.

#wannabewise

Come on!

Next…

Chasing Greatness III – Reasons for my approach

Chasing Greatness I – The Return of the forgotten Virtue

A dream or a manifesto. I am not sure. You tell me.

Sidney Mazzi – 13 min read

More than 10 years ago, I uncovered a secret — an idea — that led me on the most amazing journey. A journey that profoundly changed my view of the world. It even altered the way that I see the problems we all face. The secret turns out to be a simple idea. Maybe it is the world’s simplest idea. Yet, it is so powerful that it has the potential to solve most of the problems of the world. It tackles the root of almost all problems. Including yours. For now, let’s call it, the ‘Forgotten Virtue.’

What is intriguing to me, is that the Forgotten Virtue was not always … well, a forgotten. Our ancestors thousands of years ago knew of it. Yes, for centuries, civilizations used this simple idea to guide their lives. But, somewhere on the way to this present moment, it was lost. All I did was bring it back to my reality. And I hope that, by the end of this article, you decide to bring it back to yours, too.

Let’s start.

What are our most common dreams?

I want to be rich, beautiful, popular, famous … as kids we often said we wanted to be a soccer player or basketball player. Later, we wanted to become a tech entrepreneur, doctor or an accountant (hey, what’s wrong with accountants….? Kidding).

But dreams are more than that. At the same time, we can desire to become a wife or a husband, to have kids and become a mum or a dad, etc. Dreams can even be specific. For example, I want to be a cool dad. Not just any dad. A cool one. This is important to me.

Anyway…

So, there are several layers and dimensions to our dreams, right? At work, at home, how we want to be recognized among friends, and so on.

Now, imagine you filled all those dreams into one person. Like a super version of you.

There will be a few conflicts among your dreams, but you get the picture.

This super version of you we will call your ‘Ideal Self.’ A super self. It is the sum of all your DREAMS. Cool, aye?

This, my friends, is the beacon that guides your life. If you were a captain of a ship, it would be the paradise island you’d be chasing, okay? I often call it my ‘Personal Holy Grail.’ 

As you’d expect, you will admire people who look like your Ideal Self. Something in them has the characteristics of what you aspire to be.


If you wish or want to be a great entrepreneur, you may look at Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos as guides or role models.

Not surprisingly, everyone’s Holy Grails are different. That’s why you might really care about being beautiful while your partner doesn’t even look in the mirror. People are different, and they admire different things.

We all chase different Personal Holy Grails, and that’s fine.

I have a word for all of this.

What we admire, what we are proud of, can be summarised as our ‘Vanity.’

We love to be recognized by the characteristics that we admire or wish we had.

Here is the KEY:

When it comes to vanity, admiration, pride… all that stuff, most of us lack something essential. Something that has the potential to change our whole perspective of life.

So, what do we lack?

Wisdom. But, more specifically, the pride of trying to being wise.

Now, you might say, “Oh God, here it comes…”

Hold on just a few more minutes. You will see.

For centuries, civilizations have passed down their ideas of wisdom. All over the world, they told stories of a moral and virtuous life. Wise people were praised and admired. But nowadays, you hardly see people talking about such things.

Let’s go back to basics: What is wisdom?

It is not intelligence. And, no, you don’t have to have white hair to possess it — although decades of experience often helps.

Also, being wise is not analogous to being an intellectual. And no, you don’t become wise by simply reading lots of books. It takes much more than that.

WISDOM. It is a simple word that summaries many things.

The simplest definition some people use is “to know a lot.” But that doesn’t help us much, does it? It seems too broad to me.

The dictionary defines being wise as something like “having or showing experience, knowledge and good judgement.” Not particularly helpful either.

But, I promised that I would give you an answer, and so I will also show you here, in my view, the characteristics of a wise person:

Let’s take two-three minutes to analyse wisdom in more detail because wise people really are extraordinary human beings. To start off, what I say will be a bit generic, but hold on just for a few seconds and things will start to become clearer.


WISE PEOPLE

1. Understand humans and their complex minds

Wise people know that there are irrational forces hidden inside each human being. They know that most of our problems come from our insecurities. They can see the real person behind his or her mask. They know what drives human behaviour. They can understand the reasons why each person does what they do. In short, wise people understand the human mind and, as a result, they understand humans. And this is a powerful skill that everyone should master.

Let’s dig deeper.

2. The need for introspection & to escape from the past

Wise people are well aware that people have different backgrounds, skills and dreams. So, they focus on his or her journey — one that inevitably started with a dream of being wise that lead to a commitment to introspection and self-development.

Hence, wise people focus on exploring their own minds. By exploring their thoughts and emotions, they escape haunting memories and are free to chase the future. They are free to become who they really are.

3. Less comparison and need for social approval

As a result, wise people have great self-esteem, and they almost never compare themselves with others. They can be authentic human beings that have very little need for social approval or validation.

4. Self-awareness and humility

Although they know a lot, wise people are aware of their limitations. They are well aware that the world is complex and no matter how much they know, there will always be more to learn. This self-awareness allows them to keep a humble attitude and also avoid certain mistakes caused by overconfidence.

This ability allows wise people to not be impulsive. They pay attention to and question their feelings as if monitoring a control panel, and they react in a manner that they believe appropriate. This ability gives them great control over their bodies and minds. As a consequence, wise people are masters of their emotions.

5. Permanently curious beings & an outsider’s perspective

Wise people are curious about western and eastern cultures, philosophies and ideologies, as well as their pasts. As their curiosity translates into knowledge, wise people become able to see the world from different perspectives.

Every wise person can see any problem from (1) his or hers point of view, (2) yours and even from a (3) a third party’s perspective —  like a sceptical alien observing we humans from another planet.

As a result, wise people can view their lives from an outsider’s perspective, just like citizens from one country have no problem challenging foreign rituals, cultures and behaviours. So, wise people can question aspects of their own lives because they are able to observe themselves from the outside.

6. The meaning of suffering & struggles in life

Wise people understand that life without struggle is an illusion. They know that it wouldn’t even be desirable to have a life without struggle. Because struggle, failure and suffering move us forward and can present opportunities to learn and improve ourselves. You have to struggle. Can you see how wise people change the meaning of struggle and suffering? Instead of avoiding struggle, they embrace it as part of their lives (that doesn’t mean they chase it either). And by doing this, paradoxically, wise people suffer less.

7. Mortality — a guide for better decision making

Regular people distance themselves from the fact that they are animals, creatures that eventually perish. Wise people, on the other hand, use their mortality to their advantage. Doing so provides them with a realistic perspective on life. Wise people plan for the long-term while knowing that no human’s lifespan is certain.

8. Compassion and empathy

A consequence of all this knowledge is that wise people better relate to others — with less judgement and more compassion and understanding.


“A smart person wins all the battles in which a wise one does not enter” — Chinese wisdom.


Wise people are likely to be able to handle high amounts of pressure while remaining calm. They are also extremely patient. Do you get the picture? And, I bet that it sounds good, but at the same time a bit too alien, right? Let me give you a few quick examples because now you might be picturing a wise person as an old fellow on top of a mountain meditating all day, and that’s not what I mean.

An old fellow on top of a mountain meditating all day -> That’s not what I mean

So, let’s move to a more practical example because these people really do have super powers.

Wise people are super heroes. They:

· change their opinion if presented with a better argument

· can give advice and not get angry if the other person chooses not to follow it

· can discuss politics without getting angry, listen to opposing ideas, reflect and sometimes even change their minds — incredible!

In fact, wise people are such extraordinary beings that sometimes they even seem to be able to predict the future. For example:

· In a bar, we praise the person who fought and defended his family. Which is good. But we are oblivious to the wise person who noticed something wrong and left the bar before the trouble started. Got it?

By understanding people and having lots of life experience, a wise person can see problems before they occur — a few minutes or even months or years before, like in the next example:

· Wise people can avoid working for a company because, before a problem arises, they can see that the boss is too greedy and insecure (a deadly combination), and at the first sign of a problem, he or she will most probably throw them under the bus.

Observing from outside, we might simply think wise people are lucky when, in fact, they are much more than that.

Wise people are like super heroes, no?

Now, think about it.

When was the last time you admired someone, not because they are rich, famous, popular or intelligent, but because they are wise? And, let’s not confuse wisdom with intelligence. These two qualities are not the same thing.

Or whom do you admire that fits the criteria above, or appears to be trying to fit, and is always improving and moving in the right direction?

Note that I am NOT saying that you should only admire perfect people.

You can admire a workaholic entrepreneur with a terrible personal life, but a successful business. It would be good to know WHAT to admire and what not, but that’s up to you.

I am talking about adding another layer to your analysis when deciding whom to admire. It is an extra step. Or at least know one wise person to help balance your life.

You’re just one decision away.

Which Path Will You Choose?

So, am I saying that you will become wise if you adopt my idea?

NO, not at all, and I am NOT saying that I AM MR. WISE PERSON, either.

I am talking about making a DECISION. About deciding to admire something. To start paying more attention.

The problem is that most people don’t choose WISDOM as something to admire — either because they forgot what it means or because it seems unachievable.

But you don’t have to ACHIEVE wisdom. You just need to chase it. 

Think of a young boy who admires Michael Jordan and dreams of becoming a professional basketball player. He will watch Michael Jordan’s games and play basketball himself. The reality is that — even though he lives and breathes the game — the young boy may not become a professional player, or even become an outstanding player. But, regardless, he will be a better player than if he had never worked on his basketball skills. That’s what matters.

Think about wisdom.

I am suggesting that it’s good for you to wish you were, aspire to become …. That’s what I am talking about.

Just add your dream to your vanity, to realise your Personal Holy Grail.

You have your dreams. Keep them. It is very difficult to change your dreams, and you won’t do it overnight. But add wisdom to your dream, like “I want to be a WISE, cool dad that is a great professional.” Got it? Just one extra word. One small change.

Adding wisdom to your dreams will change your perspective, your priorities, your decisions, your way of thinking. Make wisdom your passion. It will pay off. Regardless of whether you reach your goal or not, you will live a better life.

For example, if you decide that among the stuff you want to be, one of those is to be a wise person. You will probably start asking questions, like “What would a wise person do in this or that situation?” You won’t necessarily know the answer at the beginning, but that’s how it starts.

Then you start rethinking whom you admire….

You will start noticing, and admiring, people who live good lives with no need to brag and people who are always calm, even in the most difficult situations. These people have no need for swagger….

There must be at least one near you. They won’t show off — he or she wouldn’t be the wise person I am talking about if they did.

So…

Then, you remember that a wise person knows a lot about different cultures, different perspectives… and you will become curious and want to learn more about the cultures of different countries, how people thought in the past (so you will try to learn a bit of history).

Suddenly, your culture or your beliefs are not “the best” anymore, and you will start having a broader view of the world. A more complex view.

You will also remember that I said a wise person understands the human mind. And so you will start wanting to learn more about that too…

And so on…

Naturally, your quest for knowledge, your true curiosity, will explode. You will start looking for experiences that matter, which will add value to your pursuit. You will unleash a new version of you.

As your mind expands, you will be fascinated by how less vulnerable a wise person is to social pressure. How unbreakable they are. And, you naturally will become more authentic.

Sounds good, no?

Now, if you are better motivated by fear:

The bad news is that every day you are getting older. And, advancing years don’t automatically make you become wise. You must try hard and spend decades improving to achieve wisdom. And being old and not wise will not bring you much joy nor pride.

And, in case you are planning to postpone the start of this journey, here is a quote for you:


“A year from now you will wish you had started today” — Karen Lamb.


You might be thinking “Okay. Maybe I should try that. Give it a go. But how can this change the world?”

First of all, striving towards wisdom is good for you, regardless of whether you change the world or not, right?

But, let me now answer your question:

Slowly, people — not everybody, just a few — will start noticing that you are different. Not because you are showing off, either. Rather, they will begin admiring your serenity, and all the abilities of a wise person….

Naturally, you will also become a good role model. An enviable alternative to what people have around them. A person to admire.

And here I am not talking about social recognition as a benefit for you. I am talking about you being a benefit to the world. I am answering your question.

When people ask what’s your secret, you say, “I just ‘want to be wise, that’s all.”

Then, as time goes by, as you show the benefits of wisdom to those around you, people will start aspiring to be wise also. Slowly, this Ideal Self will start to materialise in your community, culture, country, and so on and so forth.

And if we strive for wisdom consistently and for long enough, we can change the world’s Ideal Self. We can add this Forgotten Virtue. Almost everyone in the world wants to be rich and famous. Wouldn’t it be amazing if people also aspired to be WISE? It would be quite something to see the return of the Forgotten Virtue.

I guarantee that any world that has wisdom as part of its Holy Grail will thrive. It will be better off.

Now, this will sound old fashioned, but yes, I have a dream. Imagine a world where the desire to be wise becomes a trend. A world where people help each other without taking selfies while doing so. Imagine a world where people agree and disagree and continue to be friends. Where people are curious about the past and discuss the future. A world where voters demand wise politicians. Where people talk about real problems and discuss solutions for poverty, poor education, pollution… where people that show off their money are not admired. Where the desire to be famous is something to be pitied, not admired. And finally, I want people to rediscover the ability to reflect and wonder.

Maybe one day, instead of hollow selfies, we will even have #wannabewise as one of the top trends on social media with people sharing articles and interesting videos to help educate each other.

The pursuit of wisdom is a slow process. But it’s the only way. If you force things, you won’t be genuine. And if the citizens of our world don’t truly want wisdom, you will not make it happen. We need to convince them. One by one.


“Patience and time do more than force and rage” — Jean de La Fontaine.


You might think that I am just a dreamer. I describe myself as a ‘sceptical one’ because my dreams are real and anyone who aspires to be wise will benefit, even if they die trying. This is because the journey is good for anyone who decides to adopt the dream of being a wise person, as I did.

I will get there one day. I hope you will be on my side.


“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” — African proverb.


It is a long journey. Let’s go together. Subscribe and/or flick me a message.

Next…

Chasing Greatness II – The Diamond of Wisdom

Sidney Mazzi – 8 min read

Diamond of Wisdom

#wannabewise

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