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.
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.
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
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.