« on: April 04, 2007, 03:10:04 pm »
Here are my thoughts this morning about idea thresholds, subtelty, and subversion
1 ---------------------- 10
to new ideas to new ideas
Everyone falls somewhere on this scale, and it varies over the course of the day. At one end we have those incredibly open-minded people who are interested in everything. In some ways they're the easiest to influence because they have a high threshold. At the other end of the scale we have the closed mindstate, which is dismissive of mental intrusions and breaches.
Pamphlets, memes, ideas, the virii we spread. When you encounter an ideological breach, the likelihood that you let it past your threshold and think about it is a function of your tolerance, and the conductibility of that idea. Big breaches have difficulty making it past threshold. Ideas that are subtle and sexy easily slip past one's defenses. That's memetics.
Consider, once again, the guy on the subway. He's on his way to Point B, listening to his iMeme, and probably has the world tuned out. When he sits down, there's a pamphlet on his seat. Small type, no pictures, sort of preachy. If he even picked it up, he pretty much ignored it. You would too. And it's too bad, because the pamphlet is fucking brilliant.
Remember Roger's sermon about how the subversive need a good cover? It's true, you can't influence people if you look like a freak to them. And when shit goes down, the freaks will be the first with their backs against the wall. Ideas work the same way. Big flashy revolutionary ideas are easily dismissed. The subtle, the sexy, they make it through threshold.
We've talked about how we shouldn't dilute our message too much for the grays. For sure, some people just can't be saved. And who would want to save them anyway? Personally, I think the neophiles already are saved, to some extent. It's a lot easier to get them fired up because they LIKE new ideas and they LIKE to evolve. They're not afraid of change or thought. They need a jostling now and then, but they're generally moving within the crowd, not with the crowd.
This morning I was putting up 5160-size stickers that I made out of the meme bomb thread. I had put up about a dozen of them in the train station. I doubled back at some point and noticed that a sticker I had put up 2 minutes ago was gone. Later on, a guy approached me right before I got on the bus, handed me a sticker I had just put up on the bus stop, and said something like "put these in your house or something, but don't clutter up public spaces with them". I just sort of nodded and tuned him out, but I thought about it for a while.
In fact, I'm sort of pleased by his reaction. Those stickers (not the messages on them, but the perception of graffiti) woke him up and caused him to interact with his environment. Numerous other people saw me putting them up and just ignored them. This guy seemed to care about something. This guy took a risk and talked to me. He wasn't just a passive observer. And bravo to that. Even though the specific message was lost, the stickers did sort of have their intended effect.
Maybe the "wake the fuck up" message shouldn't be so literal. The Principia disguises itself as a joke, and that's how it gets past people's defenses. I'm not suggesting that we rewrite and retune our entire efforts, but that we should keep this vibe in mind.
One of my favorite stickers in the whole set is SillyCybin's meme "Congradulations, you've just found Clue #3! The man in the green jacket will tell you what to do next." If I found that sticker in public I'd be tickled - am I in the middle of some cool game? Are there other clues I should be looking for? It rewards people for being aware. It suggests something's going on which might be invisible to the casual observer.
Maybe the best way to get people to think hard about the Black Iron Prison pamphlet is to destroy it. Like a flyer with the URL of the BIP wiki and a suggestion to "STOP THIS BULLSHIT NOW". Write rants against it. Tear it apart. In trying to figure out what you're talking about, people will have to absorb the material. We've snuck in the message without trying directly to sell it to them.
This what Discordians against Discordia is all about. The Concordia movement appeals to Christians and actually invites them to learn more about our heathen cult. It's exactly the cover our subversion needs.
Or maybe all this just means that our memes should be disguised as regular things. Make our flyers look like regular advertisements. Put sexy swimsuit models on them. Subtelty through commercialization.
It might be easier to get under the skin if we try not to pierce it.