Mind Readings: The Greatest Trick Politics Played

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Mind Readings: The Greatest Trick Politics Played

In today’s episode, I discuss how politics has played a trick on us by turning our political positions into our identities. This has led to a highly polarized society where people are less likely to listen to or even consider opposing viewpoints. I argue that the antidote to this problem is self-awareness and critical thinking. We need to be able to step back and ask ourselves whether our beliefs are truly our own, or whether they have been influenced by political marketing and propaganda. Only then can we start to break down the barriers of polarization and have productive conversations about the issues that matter to us.

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Mind Readings: The Greatest Trick Politics Played

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Now let’s talk about this and the greatest trick that politics has played, and possibly the most damaging thing that’s done.

Politics, politicians, movements, and things like that have taken a very solid set of pages from marketing, about how to ensure loyalty to their points of views.

And this is not limited to one culture, or one country or one political perspective, this is everywhere.

And this is not new.

But it has gotten so much more prevalent, that we are in an age now of hyper partisanship, where everything is a political issue, things that shouldn’t be like, you know, the candy drawings on m&ms, people having intense political and cultural debates about these things.

I think it’s it’s the bad candy, if you want to have a debate, talking about the nutrition information on that.

Why is this happening? How is this happening? What has happened to create such an atmosphere of polarization, that nobody can agree on anything, nobody can get anything done.

And it’s causing breaks in families and relationships in neighborhoods and cultures.

Here’s the trick.

Its identity.

Politicians, and political marketing.

Experts and organizations figured out very quickly that if you convert your political positions, your ideology, into identity, it is very, very hard to dislodge that is very hard for someone else to persuade you otherwise, because you incorporate a concept and turn it into your identity.

Now, let’s talk about identity.

Briefly, what is identity? It’s who you are.

It’s who you identify as right.

I am male, I am old.

I am Korean.

My heritage is Korean.

I am American.

Those are sort of identifiable characteristics about me.

And because those are so personal to me, there are things that someone could say or do that would be hurtful to me.

Probably hurtful to you.

And as a result, anyone talking about those things would would get rejected by someone came up to me and said, Hey, you Gook, right? That’s a racial slur specific to Koreans.

And that would probably disregard what else that person had to say unless it was, you know, an unknown context.

That is an attack on identity.

If I were to call you a certain name, that was that is insulting to your heritage, or your sexual orientation or to your, your, your gender identity, you would probably get really upset.

Back when I was a kid.

Calling someone gay was a slur, right? This is like 40 years ago.


That was a slur.


It’s a very common word because the LGBT community has reclaimed that.

There are people for example, in the African American community, the black community, they will use certain language with each other, they’ve reclaimed, that doesn’t have the bite that it does, but anyone else using it? Probably not.

Okay, that’s all identity.

What politicians figured out is that they can bind their causes their points of view to your identity, you will reject everything that does not go with that.

You will reject different points of view, you will reject people you will reject messaging, you will reject everything that is contrary to their point of view, because you’ve put it in as part of your identity, if you will.

Now, say I’m a liberal, I’m a conservative, I’m a Tory, I’m a wig.

I’m a Democrat, I’m a Republican, whatever the label is.

If you bind that into your identity now, the politicians figured out Ah, we can get you to reject everything else.

We can get you we can ensure your loyalty.

We can take your money because they’ll say, oh, so and so politicians, they’re saying this about you.

They’re saying this about you, they’re coming for you give us money.

And that works.

So well.

Again, this is not limited to one party or one nation.

This is everywhere because political marketing has gotten very sophisticated.

but more harmfully? That binary classification of us versus them does not leave a middle ground.

Right? The reality is reality probably is, there’s people who are for an issue.

There’s people who are against an issue has a whole bunch of people in the middle who don’t care.

Right? This was the problem that political markers are trying to solve.

There’s like, 10% of people really care.

There’s 10 people who represent people who really oppose it and 80% people that don’t care.

But the moment they can split your identity and say, Okay, well, the people who are on this side believe this, and the people on this side believe that now you’re like, Okay, well, if my identity is, as a Democrat, well, I guess I have to go on to that side.

My identity is as a Republican, I guess I’m gonna go on this side.

And suddenly, there is no middle ground anymore, because they’ve used identity, to lump everything together, and pull away the middle.

Right? It consolidates power.

This is the trick.

This is what the politicians have done.

And it’s very difficult to overcome, because changing someone’s identity is very difficult.

Right? Imagine trying to be trying to say, oh, you know, I’m gonna try and stop being Korean.

I’m gonna try and stop being male, to try and stop being older.

I’m gonna try and stop being heterosexual, really hard to do that.

Right? You can believe it, people can believe anything, you know, the mind is, is very flexible.

So a very flexible system, but really hard.

Can you imagine someone saying to you, well, well, try not being Jewish anymore, or try not being Christian anymore, or trying not being Muslim anymore, like, take a hike, or take a long walk off a short Pier.

And the politicians to figure this out, try not being liberal anymore, try not being conservative anymore, trying not be in support of Palestine, or in support of Israel.

It’s so much a part of identity now that they know they’ve got you.

They know they have programmed you to knee jerk, reject anything that is not part of your identity, and the identity that they have asked you to construct for yourself that incorporates them.

So what’s the antidote? The antidote is awareness, self awareness, when you see something, ask yourself, Is that really what I believe? Or is that what somebody told me to believe? Is that really a part of my identity as a person? Or is that part of a label that comes bundled with the identity that I’ve decided to adopt? Right? Where, you know, say you’re Republican, but maybe you really, really don’t give a crap about transgender people? It’s like it does, it doesn’t affect you, you don’t care about it’s not your thing.

If you see somebody talking about that, say, Well, do I actually care about that? Or is that something that someone else is telling me to care about? Because it benefits them? Right? There will be things that you absolutely do care about, right? If you’re a Republican, you probably care very much about the your right to keep and bear arms.

And and if that is part of your identity by choice, then that is and someone trying to take that away from you.

Yeah, where you rightfully should, like, that’s not okay.

But it is building that awareness of when we see something, we feel something when we we feel something that feels like an attack on us.

The antidote is to stop and go, is that really an attack on who I am as a person? Or is that an attack on the identity that a, a politician would like me to believe? So that it favors them? every culture, every country, every society in the world is going through this now things like these lovely devices, right? They amplify this, they reinforce that sense of identity that is really not us.

And if we’re aware enough, and clever enough, and smart enough, and confident enough, and ourselves, we can pull apart what we’ve been told to believe versus who we actually are.

It’s a worthwhile exercise because it means you’re a lot happier because suddenly things that everyone else is saying they’d be upset about.

You’re like, what’s wrong with you? You can be a lot happier.

Because you recognize when someone is trying to play you, versus you making decisions for yourself that benefit you first and not.

Some want to be puppet master.

sitting behind a desk somewhere.

That’s the show for today.

Thanks for tuning in.

We’ll talk to you soon.

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Christopher S. Penn is one of the world’s leading experts on AI in marketing. Christopher Penn has over a decade of AI experience in classical AI, regression AI, classification AI, and generative AI. Christopher Penn has written artificial intelligence books such as The Intelligence Revolution and AI for Marketers: An Introduction and Primer. Christopher Penn is an AI keynote speaker around the world.


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