Sep 22, 2023Liked by Harrison Koehli

I really got a lot out of your summaries and explanations and examples Harrison of why some people instead of questioning where they may actually be incorrect in their views on something, instead do the exact opposite and dig in even harder! I understand if you have a lot invested in a particular belief that you have it is much more difficult to give it up. I also understand that smart people have a very hard time with admitting they were totally wrong about something, their egos are definitely huge to believe they are always right and they always judge things correctly!

To be human is to err, to believe oneself incapable of erring is believing oneself to be perfect and none of us are perfect, we’re all human and we’re all flawed. The people I most admire in the world are the really smart, very intelligent and highly learned people who are able to first admit to themselves that they got it wrong, and then are able to remove their egos and admit to the rest of the world that they were wrong in what they so strongly formerly endorsed and believed to be the case. After which they put in 1000% to go in the exact opposite direction to try to undo or try to reverse harms that they were fully responsible for causing.

That is called humility and it is what we all need a lot more of in today’s world.

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Much of these are familiar to me but I haven’t read or thought about them specifically recently ...(a few are included in Intro psych courses in a simplistic way). What strikes me today is how different it is to have non-leftist views, both in opinion and in reviewing information. Even finding confirmation bias or in many cases any “in-group” is difficult. Its a wake up and a constant challenge and keeps one on one’s cognitive “toes.” Its also uncomfortable and often unsatisfying. Perhaps a goal of propaganda is to make those who don’t agree uncomfortable.

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This is an awesome article. In my view, I think understanding the current state of the world really begins with understanding how perception is subjective, personal, flawed and biased, and the role beliefs play in our engagement with reality, specifically the creation of self-fulfilling processes via confirmation bias.

Understanding conformism and power via the Milgram experiment, Nazi Germany (Ordinary Men), and the Asch line experiment is also important. You then realize that you are a highly biased individual by nature (because the world is so complex that you must make a perceptual model to just survive, to determine how to attend to what out of the near infinite possible stimulus) and that much of your behavior doesn’t stem from internal Will or intuition but rather observations of others. Consequently, with these two ideas in mind, many manifold possibilities for ignorance arise, and what a journey it is to search for the truth, for it shall set you free!

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This isn't to contradict the spirit of what you're saying, and certainly the Milgram experiment seems to comport with what we see in society, but it has come up several times on this blog and I have to say I find the Milgram experiment itself to be highly dubious.

First, listen to the play acting of the guy supposedly being electrocuted. Forget about the ominous music playing behind the dialog in whatever documentary it's in, and just listen to the interactions. The actor is totally phony! He sounds like a hack out of Central Casting: "Say! I don't like this! Lemme outta here I tell ya! Lemme out!" and then the next fake shock is delivered, you hear the buzz, and there's a full second delay before he goes "yeeOUCH! Say, I don't like this! Lemme out I tell ya!" It's not distressing, at all—unless you find The Three Stooges distressing (which some people admittedly do).

It's not surprising that 72% of the participants said they thought the shocks were fake (which they of course were), with several saying they thought they were listening to a recording! Milgram removed all this testimony when he reported the findings of his experiment, which amounts to willful fraud and misconduct. I also read somewhere, and I can't find it now, that Milgram claimed he thought the experiments would prove Americans would never follow immoral orders like in Germany, and that he was shocked by his own findings. But this contradicts his own biography, which states his obsession early in life with the Holocaust and the idea that it could happen again at any time.

Pair this with the fact that the release of the Milgram experiment's conclusions coincided with Eichmann's trial in Jersusalem, and it starts to look more like propaganda than anything else: one day, they're all going to turn on you for no reason! This messaging, broadcasted by Jews like Milgram and internalized by other Jews, creates a siege mentality that can be beneficial for their own group cohesion, but of course generates antipathy toward the gentile population, and slanderously so, if fabricated—as the findings of the experiment arguably were.

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Sep 28, 2023Liked by Harrison Koehli


Thanks for your article; this is really the utmost greatest stuff I have been reading; it's accessible and very informative to me. I am a fervent follower of your work, Lobaczewski, and the only people studying it. I surely noticed how much you guys developped L's concepts. There surely is a recurring one, and I am glad to see it present in your article.

As the spec I am aiming at seems to be some very core basic one, I wished to encourage you , if one day you had the time, to rehearse it again, to developp around it and magically vulgarize it so that it really becomes an integrated input. It's of course about the fact that people need to integrate the psychopathological parameter, very above, in their reasoning structure.

I was only thinking at how to achieve it. I have been reading it so many times now and see that it's not that much integrated. Basically, when I leave home and find myself in the street or in an active stting, it's just not there, and it's my guardian angel that would help me carry on difficult confrontations if there are. Of course there should be some shielding and could be that my guardian angel triggers it, but I am fairly disappointed to eventually find out, once back home, how much I lacked tapping into the "there are psychopaths" stance, for example because this stance has a positive effect of pondering things, calming down, etc.

I feel I am blocked at the definition of what to look for as well if I was able to remember that "this boy" may be a psycho. It surely is complicated to discern a psychopath from an affected person, and a psychopath itself would cloak himself.

How great this would be to have some follow-up in the idea of "we need to integrate in our structure that psychos exists".

I notice as well that i am having trouble to discern evil, at some point, and to define it. The STO/STS perspective produces necessity for some 50% balance, and in my view there could be some elements who are STS, who could display psychopathological traits, but, in a sense, are kind of "part of the thing". It seems some psychos need to be dealt with a very different attitude than regarding other people (and this could be enlightening as well, to have some practical guide on how to deal... Examples, street examples, things like that). It seems that actually the strategy is at the antipodes of the one used with normal people, and surely what's hard is that with normal people it's rather the "heart" and not some "strategy".

I just tried to clumsily express things, I don't ask for it because I accept that it may be due to personal flaws. it's just "what I see a standard mind would then encounter as difficulties when studying Lobaczewski", or some difficult stair step. At least it occurs to me. I noticed how important it was to integrate the concept of the existence of defective individuals. I understood that they were kind of defective at the heart/soul level, but then the translation needs to be integrated by the reader mostly by reading clinical parts of Lobaczewski. the "imagine for an instant that you have no conscience..." passage is not enough for me to grasp and integrate it. I have trouble figuring out, of course the real evil, but no definite picture to cling to has formed in my mind. The psycho could be whoever and I really have nothing to cling to! Most men developped some thuggish-brutality oriented personality and I cannot rely on it for validation.

But overall if the nitty gritty of transforming a mind and having a solid base for any further positive inputs relies in the integration of the existence of psychopaths, I really wish for pressure, efforts, developpments in this way, extreme vulgarization.

I am thanking you again, your work is invaluable to others and you are surely objectively bettering things in doing what you do. That's a great relief to know about it. I just tried to share some really hard stuffs happening to me. Of course I am a hard-rock-head and need to rehearse things 1000 times before I integrate them.

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Sep 28, 2023Liked by Harrison Koehli

What I mean is that the concept itself is rather simple; if this was fully acknowledged by academics, what "shape" would it take? I mean just the definition of it; like an illness, discovered 50 years ago, what would be the summing up in some book? As the pubmed-like article you use for your article, we can notice that guys pretty much narrowed things. The start of it even suggests psychiatrists definitely have strong automatism for spotting stuffs ("One of the essential insights from psychological research is that people’s information processing is often biased"). I don't like that "best kept secret" feature because with the amount of psys around they did not manage to help others.

How in the world would you achieve passing the message to someone, and, because this is indeed a pivotal concept, how is it clinically summed up?

I could just be at the level of "you know mom, one of the most important thing is to integrate in our mind that out there are really nasty people... People not like us..".

Wish we could have the following. What to say? What to point at, without frightening people, but at the same time provide them effective tools.

Gosh it's pretty much a very simple concept and I just see in myself that I haven't integrated it after 8 years of Lobaczewski.

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I think the best way is to read case studies (in books), and watch movies that are fairly accurate representations. As for popularizing, I'm trying, but we need a lot more people with different talents.

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Thanks for your reply!

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Sep 26, 2023Liked by Harrison Koehli

The Oeberst and Imhoff article is wonderful. Thanks so much, Harrison, for drawing our attention to it, and relating it to ponerology.

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to challenge one’s current perspective by actively searching for and generating arguments against it (“consider the opposite”…).

This may indeed be a fruitful line of research; it crosses paths with the classic John Stuart Mill bit "he who only knows his side of the argument knows little of that...."

There is also the very interesting parallel concept that I believe originated in the military known as "Red Teaming". It's worth considering how these problems might play out in the military. If an academic or bureaucrat gets it wrong what's the worst that can happen? Official censure. A warrior gets it wrong on the training ground, let alone the battlefield and things can get very bad very quickly. Fear of death is a powerful motivator. You have to know, as best you can, how things look on the other side of the line. So, the Airforce created "Red Squadrons" with Soviet equipment and tactics to fly against "The Blues". Special forces created "Red Cell" to infiltrate US military bases, plant fake bombs, steal stuff and generally monkey around.

The Red Cell commander Dick Marcinko suffered a rather interesting fate. He was relieved of duty and charged, under dubious circumstances, with some rather petty financial malfeasance. Later he said that he only took a plea deal to avoid ruinous legal fees as he was charged under federal and not military law and that he had made powerful enemies in the Pentagon after humiliating senior officials by exposing their incompetence.

I think there's a lesson in that for all of us. maybe you can MacGyver your way past the surveillance system and slip past the perimeter fence, but can you dodge a Federal indictment? I don't think MacGyver ever had to go up against lawyers, probably just as well, MacGyver was a decent and honorable sort of dude, so he would have been a dead man.

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On some level this feels like some smart people picking apart all the reasons that other people are less smart. And these all look like valid mechanisms that many people use to make themselves right and (perhaps) others wrong. The urge to be right (or good) is very strong in people and if our own rightness or goodness is challenged, we will find ways to defend it.

It seems to me that perhaps the most useful way to apply such research is to use it as a mirror. We, after all, are the ones trying to figure out what's really going on and what to do about it. To what extent do we fall into these same traps?

If you travel in academic or intellectual circles, you may come to see the ways we try to think about things ("process information") as very important. Many people involved in the humanities or social sciences may feel that their subject matter is essentially subjective, as it deals so often with human reactions and human emotions. If you are like my father, who worked in Social Work, and was trained in psychology, you many not be that versed in the "hard" sciences where being objective is easier to accomplish. So I should not be surprised, I suppose, that this information was presented in a social context (questions of "right:" versus "wrong") versus a more objective context where workability is more important than self esteem. Yet, with my background and experience in electronics, that's where I have spent a fair amount of my time.

An interesting story from the field of engineering comes to mind. Edison had invented a form of DC (direct current) power generation that he wanted to make the national standard. Meanwhile, Tesla had invented AC (alternating current) power generation which was a technology that allowed for power transmission over longer distances. Tesla, as an inventor, was not that concerned about which technology won out, but his corporate sponsors (Westinghouse) were. Edison (who initially had the backing of General Electric) created a propaganda campaign that even involved the electrocution of several animals to "prove" how unsafe AC was. He lost when AC was adopted to power the Chicago World's Fair in 1893.

I worked for a few years "troubleshooting" electronic equipment that failed calibration. Our circuit boards were VERY complicated, and though some faults could be seen with the eye, many could not. We used an industrial x-ray machine to help us find faults, but even that didn't always work. Sometimes we had to guess, and just have a suspicious part replaced to see if that would solve the problem. The very same cognitive biases were at work in that environment as existed in the more social environments that seem to be a more common context for these studies.

In the modern world of technology and technocracy, these contexts become more and more important, with similar or even worse outcomes when mistakes are made.

I was taught an understanding of the human psyche based on "workability" and not on "goodness." We even have a way of measuring workability using an electronic meter - though there are other ways (collectively known as "good indicators.")

Yet my attempts to discuss the theories involved often are met with arguments that seem based on little more than cognitive bias. So I certainly agree that this is an important human problem when it comes to correctly processing challenging information. I know it by the term "fixed ideas."

Though the understandings I have studied can be applied to extreme cases, our organization is designed to work with "normal" people. Though our target is not specifically cognitive bias, that is not the only common problem among "normal" people. We more specifically address inappropriate emotional responses and problems with controlling one's attention. There is an educational component to our work, as most people are unaware that they are spiritual beings and need this and related information just to be able to understand the processes we use.

My feeling about the more general situation is that a general education on these matters, though desirable, is not easily accomplished. I would focus on what we might call the "ruling classes" who deal with these issues every day in their work and whose decisions may affect many others in their respective spheres of influence. Though this is not an easy target, I think it is more realistic than a grassroots-only approach.

I would not underestimate the problem we are facing on Earth. It is bad enough that we may not be able to save this planet. That doesn't mean we shouldn't try.

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