Hypnotism

An interesting post from Scott Adams. As usual, as soon as he talks philosophy, he talks nonsense. But his point about hypnotism is good.

An example: Trump says that because he is a celebrity, women let him do anything: even grab their... Women (celebrity obsessed women, at least) don't mind if he does this. Now this is all pretty crude and doesn't show Trump in a good light.

Well, almost immediately, Team Clinton and its allies (meaning 95% of the media) began repeating, again and again, that Trump had boasted of sexually assaulting women. And even though Trump quite explicitly said that women let him do these things, many, many people are actually sure that Trump said that the women were unwilling, and that he was assaulting those women. After all, if something is said again and again in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Slate, CBS News, CNN, etc., etc. how could it possibly be false?

That's hypnotism!

16 comments:

  1. “they let you do it” is ambiguous. Someone might let someone do something simply because they appreciate it and therefore consent; or someone might let someone do something because they feel unable to resist or are too terrified to resist. “When you are a star, they let you do it” could mean “they are so attracted to a star that they consistently consent to my advances!” or it could mean “because I’m a star they think of me as such a powerful person that they cannot resist me, so they don’t put up a fight against my assaults!” One can only judge what this means from context. Since, in this case, the context is Trump running his mouth off to Billy Bush, it’s all pretty abstract so it’s hard to be 100% sure what’s intended. One does note, however, that this exchange immediately follows Trump relating a specific incident in which he made overtures of conjugal nature and was rejected; so it doesn’t sound like he was employing force in that instance.

    Incidentally, no one seems to agree with me that the phrasing is ambiguous. I’ve talked to some people who believe Trump was obviously talking about committing sexual assault and I’ve talked to people who believe he obviously wasn’t.

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    1. Yes, Greg, it is ambiguous. It is *possible* Trump was talking about sexual assault. So I guess I'm the first person to agree with you.

      And yes, in the context, it is pretty clear to me that he is boasting about how easily women fall for a celebrity. I don't approve of that, and I don't approve of celebrities taking advantage of that. Trump is clearly a horny womanizer. Not nice. But to think that this is unambiguous evidence of "sexual assault": you've been hypnotized by Team Hillary.

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    2. "…you've been hypnotized by Team Hillary."

      Correction: Team Media.

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  2. Gene, here are Trump's exact words: "Yeah that's her in the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs [breath fresheners] just in case I start kissing her. You know, I'm automatically attracted to beautiful... I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the p****. You can do anything."

    The clear meaning of that is that he just starts kissing women without waiting for consent, because when you're a celebrity you can get away with anything, including even grabbing women by the p**** without waiting for consent. The "they" refers to society, not the women involved. He's saying that society allows celebrities to do all sorts of horrible things with impunity.

    That is why most people who have heard it for the first time immediately come to the conclusion that he's bragging about his ability to assault women. It's not some media hypnosis.

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    1. Hypnotism, Keshav, hypnotism.

      A clear example: 'The "they" refers to society, not the women involved.'

      Come on! That is a ridiculous interpretation of 'they' in that case! All of a sudden Trump had become a sociologist!

      "That is why most people who have heard it for the first time immediately come to the conclusion that he's bragging about his ability to assault women."

      Most people, hearing it for the first time, had ALREADY been hypnotized by the media. They FIRST saw a headline "Trump boasts of assaulting women" and THEN listened to the tape. I bet YOU saw t hat headline before you listened.

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    2. Remember, Keshav, the WHOLE TRICK of hypnosis is to get the hypnotized subject to be CONVINCED that they are carrying out the hypnotist's instruction ENTIRELY ON THEIR OWN. OF COURSE they were not influenced by the hypnotist! No, they are drawing on their own nose with a green marker... in honor of Earth Day!

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    3. In fact, you're tortured explanation of "they" in your comment... well, that sounds just like the kind of thing a hypnotized subject comes up with!

      And you see in my reply to Greg, I entirely agree with him that there is SOME CHANCE that Trump was talking about actual sexual assault here. I'd give it may 5% or 10%. Maybe someone else might say 30% or 40% chance. It is the fact that so many people are SURE that's what he was saying that shows the power of hypnosis.

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    4. Gene, might I suggest that there is a possibility that you are the one being hypnotized here? That people have a natural desire to believe that they have access to esoteric information, especially information that reinforces their scorn for a supposed cognoscenti class that they feel is out of touch? And that it would not be too surprising that given that Scott Adams is a certified hypnotist, he would be able to manipulate those feelings to create the false sense that Trump's negative qualities were just a product of media hypnosis?

      But put that aside for moment, and let me address the substance. I first heard the tape on the Friday before the second debate, which is the day the story broke. I was watching CNN, and the headline was something along the lines of "Trump apologizes for lewd Access Hollywood tape." (This was about 24-48 hours before I heard anyone start using the language "bragging about assault".) In any case, seeing the headline I thought this was going to be yet another one of Trump's demeaning comments about women, or perhaps discussion of one of his many well-known affairs. And indeed, it started out that way, describing his unsuccessful attempts at wooing a married woman. But then I was well and truly shocked when the part of the tape quoted above came, because it went beyond the behavior of a cad and entered the realm of assaulting women without their consent. That was my natural impression upon watching the tape, not some media hypnosis.

      I would also note that just as you recognize some chance that you are wrong, I do likewise. It seems clear to me that my interpretation is the most plausible one, but I do concede the possibility that I'm misinterpreting his words. I also think there's a possibility that he's merely saying "I could get away with assault if I wanted to, but I don't do that because that would be wrong."

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    5. The only problem with your scenario re me is that I saw through this media assault on Trump well before I ever encountered Adams (except as a cartoonist). When I heard many, many people repeating "Trump said all Mexicans are rapists" even though he said nothing of the sort, I knew the media onslaught was on. I have kept reading Adams because he had the terminology to describe what I already saw was true.

      (None of this is to claim Trump is a great guy: he's crude, promiscuous, egotistical, and loves being inflammatory.)

      "That was my natural impression upon watching the tape, not some media hypnosis."

      One of the amazing things about these techniques is that they PRE-suade you of things. They prime you to interpret events in a certain light, and so you do.

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    6. "The "they" refers to society, not the women involved."

      That's the tell here, Keshav. That is an extremely convoluted interpretation of that statement, that Trump suddenly, in the midst of this conversation focused entirely on women, suddenly made a remark about society as a whole.

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    7. Keshav, do you have reversed causation here: because Adams and I SEE the same truth, you are thinking one of us must have influenced the other, and then pin that influence on him. But it is BECAUSE we both see the same truth that I read him: I saw it well before I started doing so.

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  3. Dr. Callahan, I disagree: I think there's a difference between "letting" someone do something and actually "consenting" to it. For example, "the gunman wanted my wallet, so I let him take it."

    While I'll admit there's some ambiguity in the situation, I think it's reasonable to assume that many women wouldn't like being "grabbed in the pussy," even (especially?) if it was Trump.

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    1. No, the whole point is that there are a whole class of people today who are so celebrity obsessed that they actually consent to celebrities doing almost anything to them.

      "Especially" if it's Trump?! Have you looked at the women he's been married to? The fact of the matter is, beautiful, celebrity-obsessed women fall for him! I DO NOT think that is a good thing! But it's reality.

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    2. Of course, your point that "letting" can be used differently is true. But if I said to you, "She let me sleep with her," would you assume I raped someone?! And if you see the context, it is clear (if you are not hypnotized) that Trump was boasting to Bush that (celebrity obsessed) women actually don't mind being kissed instantly if it is a celebrity doing it.

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    3. And by "clear," I mean "clear with a high probability": I freely admit that there is, perhaps, a 10% chance Trump actually meant they DIDN'T consent, but he got away with it because he is a celebrity.

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    4. That makes sense. I think we only disagree on the probability, I'd give it a 50/50. What I do agree on is that the majority of people don't see it in this light, and if I even brought up the ambiguity, I'd get shouted down immediately.

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