Sunday, December 8, 2013

Analogies Are Thieves

Your brain is a relation/analogy engine. When it's looking at something new*, it cycles through its list of possible matches. Imagine those ideas as apples on a tree.

It tries to figure out what it is seeing based upon drawing lines between those apples. Based on the lines, it picks a spot in the tree. Folks like Google are trying to turn this into code.

And it's very clever. The ultimate best guess engine. Because you love your own ideas. You want them to be true.

* new doesn't have to be something legitimately new. It could be something you were told was new. We want things to be new, so we are receptive to the suggestion that something is.

Analogies are this process speaking out loud. That's you verbally saying part of your thought process during your evaluation of something new*. Now, this small window of time when you are judging something is crucial. You are forming opinions about something. If somebody else feeds you an analogy and it comes across as sounding true, your brain will usually accept it and include it as "additional data". And once somebody has done this to you, they can do it again a few more times and eventually control the narrative.

Are you being fed the analogy?

Great analogies are designed as theft devices. It's an attempt to control the narrative by making you think that something was your idea in the first place. The best marketing works this way.

1) Here's our main analogy
2) Here are a few supporting analogies
3) Here's some inspirational music with dancers or skywriting planes so you can come to the conclusion we want. Go ahead. Deliberate.
4) See, of course you agree with us. You are reasonable.

The worst marketing tries to do this and fails. This is why you even have a bullshit meter. That being said, beware the guy that is constantly making analogies. That guy is probably up to something.

What Do?

Be critical. Wait until something sounds slightly off. The question you should be asking yourself is how many different analogies can you come up with to describe something.  Why did they go with the one they picked? What was their motive?