Why Hitler is my mentor…
…and how I stumbled upon a weird, mind melting insight into human nature that will allow you to become a smarter person almost overnight.
I’ll literally get people “unfriending” me for this post. If you see it under 5000, you know why. But I’m happy to have people prove the point of this post.
Ever meet people who are incapable of separating a person from their ideas or method?
Who hears one idea about that person and immediately writes them off completely?
Someone who will question someone’s ENTIRE character because of some of the ideas they hold?
People who are incapable of having thought experiments or engaging in civilized debate without attacking or getting emotional?
Someone who refuses to learn persuasion from watching Donald Trump because they don’t “like him”?
Or can’t fathom Hitler’s speeches mentoring them to become a better public speaker?
Yeah, most everyone.
I think part of the reason is something REALLY WEIRD AND STRANGE.
I think people believe ideas are living creatures.
…and are afraid of them.
Ever heard the phrase “thoughts are things”?
I believe most of us actually believe “thoughts are living things”
Think about it.
Assuming something is alive and different from us, what do we usually do as a species?
We see it as a threat.
We run screaming from the spider, we mock the hijab, and we ridicule Jordan Peterson. Our lizard brain goes “this idea is different than mine and poses a danger” and faced with that perceived danger, your instincts are fight, flight, or freeze.
I’m serious about us believing ideas are living things as a basic meta level assumption and I’ll prove it to you right now.
Just look at how we talk about them:
“That idea gave birth to modern physics”
“He is the father of modern biology”
“His ideas have spawned many…
“Those ideas died off in the middle ages”
“Ideas will live on forever”
“Psychology is still in its infancy”
“Where did he dig up that idea”
“They breathed new life into that one…”
“She was pregnant with ideas”
Weird hey. We also think ideas are plants.
“His ideas have finally come to fruition”
That idea died on the vine”
“He views chemistry as a mere offshoot of physics”
Mathematics has many branches”
The seeds of his great ideas were planted in his youth”
“She has a fertile imagination
“Here’s an idea that I’d like to plant in your mind”
Oddly, we also think ideas are food, which we might be cautious to “take in” (to our minds) in case it’s “poison”…
“Left a bad taste in my mouth”
“The raw facts”
“Half baked ideas
“I need to take some time to digest what you just said”
“Something smells fishy
“Hard to swallow
“Stew on that for a while
“Food for thought”
“I devoured that book”
Do you see how language shapes the distance we keep different ideas away from us?
Ideas are not actually alive but the metaphors we use say otherwise and so we treat them as though they are.
But it’s just a fucking idea. You can play with it, hold it, look at it, contemplate it, and it’s not gonna bite you.
Actually, you can’t actually do those things EITHER, they are just metaphors and an idea can’t bite you because it’s not alive.
You can engage in discourse with ideas you don’t like without attacking someone’s character. You can hold contradictory ideas in your mind at the same time without wondering who you are anymore. You can learn public speaking tips from Hitler instead of ignoring it because he was a “bad guy”.
Separate the ideas from the person, and learn to debate and treat ideas as just thoughts to play with – don’t get over emotional, don’t attack someone’s character when they say something you don’t like. It just makes you look unintelligent when you take it personal or infer their motivation from their thoughts.
Don’t be so afraid of ideas that aren’t your own, and don’t be afraid to study, and apply methodologies from people you don’t like.
Once you are able to do this, you become smarter almost instantly because you now have the ENTIRE world to draw from for learning, not just the parts you like.
You can also RESPECT people you don’t LIKE.
Most people can’t do this.
This type of thinking is what separates the winners from the losers.
It’s okay to learn public speaking from Hitler, it won’t make you a bad person.