Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Social control

Part of the secret behind being successful socially is being able to tell how people will react to different things. Not having a decent grasp of that is like wandering around in the dark. In fact, that comes before that "controlling the flow of information" that I've been written about.

As a small example: In many of my conversations on the net many years ago I unintentionally got into fights. At that point I really was clueless as to which statements were provocative and which were not (I didn't even really know that statements could be evaluated after how provocative they are). And getting experience and experimenting is the only way to learn. That particular lesson I did learn; I rarely get into fights these days and I have a good grasp of what is provocative and what isn't.

To have a good grasp is to understand causality in that setting, and at that point it's possible to start to control the flow of information.

A good analogy would be the history of science. Before the era of science people had very little grasp of the universe. They didn't understand what was going on, and to travel to the other side of the world would be out of the question because they didn't know there were such as thing as another side. To them that would be marching towards the edge of the world. And of course no technology was possible. Scientific understanding of the world is necessary in order for technology to be constructed. So they lived in a world they didn't understand and couldn't control. Success whether in social contexts or whatever requires knowledge of many kinds.

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